Kirk Adams is president and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind.
This week we announced a partnership with the American Printing House for the Blind to carry on the award-winning web programs AFB has created, so that the American Foundation for the Blind can focus its full attention on creating a more inclusive and accessible society for millions of Americans with vision loss.
Last year, we set out to create a new strategic plan for AFB’s future. We recognized a need to refocus our energies, so we could expand the impact we make on the lives of Americans with visual impairments and the broader world. The year-long strategic planning process was guided by a key question:
What can AFB do to create a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired?
We determined that AFB must strengthen its commitment to effective research, policy, and partnerships—and ultimately improve our social systems—so that Americans with vision loss have the same opportunities as their sighted peers and loved ones. AFB’s track record of evidence-based programs and advocacy makes us uniquely suited to the challenge.
What does this look like in practice? Over the coming year, AFB will:
- Advocate for key initiatives, such as the Cogswell-Macy Act and the National Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss
- Work closely with companies—through AFB Consulting, the AFB Leadership Conference, and a new Employment Summit—to create strong accessibility policies and practices
- Establish a research center to produce the concrete, actionable data that will help everyone in the field better serve people who are blind or visually impaired
We know that discrimination against people who are blind or visually impaired remains a big problem. We want to shift public attitudes to create a more inclusive society.
Together, we can make a big impact in the areas of education, employment, and aging, so that children who are blind can follow their interests and capabilities into an interesting and productive career, and then enjoy a healthy retirement.
We truly believe that this is the right focus for AFB at this point in history. The 25 million Americans who are blind or visually impaired deserve the opportunity to live, learn, and work in a world with no limits. We look forward to working closely with APH, and we know they will ensure that our ground-breaking resources for parents, adults, and seniors remain strong.
Change is never easy, but we believe that our new strategic plan—and our mission to mobilize leaders, advance understanding, and champion impactful policies and practices using research and data—will result in significant improvements in the lives of people with vision loss.