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Reflecting on the Americans with Disabilities Act, 30 Years Later

July 22, 2020
I was 29 years old when the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. I was working in finance – only later in my career would I enter the non-profit sector – so at that time, I was largely unaware of its passing. As a young child, I’d attended the Oregon School for the Blind, but from third grade on I attended public schools and had to muscle my way through. It was very sink or swim. This was even before the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which made available…

Thank You, Friends

March 13, 2020
Photo of Kirk Adams
Kirk Adams, AFB President & CEO
Dear Friends: I wanted to take a moment to thank you. After making the decision earlier this week to cancel our events, we received an outpouring of positive messages and support from so many of you. Your kindness and understanding at this time mean more than we can express. Our community has always been strong and incredibly generous, but this week, we were reminded of just how strong our bonds are. From those of you who donated your registration fees and gala tickets back to us, to our…

In Light of World Braille Day 2019

January 3, 2019
As a means of consuming literature, learning, and communicating, braille has remained the biggest game changer in the history of inventions for people who are blind. It is only fitting then, that we celebrate the United Nations' recent resolution designating January 4 of every year as World Braille Day. As a braille user myself, I can say firsthand that those tiny tactile dots represent so much more than the sum of their parts—they are a gateway to independence for people who are blind or…

Helen Keller: "Alone We Can Do So Little. Together We Can Do So Much"

June 26, 2018
Image left to right, M. R. Barnett, American Foundation for the Blind, Executive Director, Helen Keller and Eric T. Boulter, American Foundation for the Overseas Blind, Field Director. Celebrating Helen's 75th birthday with cake, 1955. Kirk Adams here, President of the American Foundation for the Blind. I am humbled and honored to be the leader of the organization that Helen Keller championed for 44 years from 1924 until her death in 1968. Like Helen, I too am blind, and I too am keenly…

Changes in AFB's Strategic Direction and Programs

February 6, 2018
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…
Author Kirk Adams
Blog Topics In the News

Giving Thanks

November 21, 2017
Kirk Adams is president and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind. Every Thanksgiving, I like to take inventory of everything I have to be grateful for. This year, my list is longer than ever. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with so many people around the country this year who are working hard to create a better world. People like Caitlin, a blind elementary school teacher in San Francisco. James, a software engineer in Phoenix, who recently became blind and is…

Creating a World of No Limits

June 15, 2017
Last night's Helen Keller Achievement Awards were a huge success, and we couldn't have done it without your help. We are so grateful to all of our partners, friends, and donors. This was our 21st year handing out these awards, and looking back, I can only feel gratified and inspired by the sheer scope and caliber of the Helen Keller Achievement Award recipients. From Stevie Wonder to Steve Jobs, AFB has recognized profound contributions by artists and inventors, corporate leaders and…
Author Kirk Adams
Blog Topics

Join Us in Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day

May 16, 2017
Kirk Adams is president and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind. We are delighted to join our friends and colleagues in celebrating the sixth Global Accessibility Awareness Day, a day designed to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities. At the American Foundation for the Blind, we are committed to removing barriers, creating solutions, and expanding possibilities for people with visual impairments so they can…

Welcome to the 31st American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference

March 1, 2017
Kirk Adams is president and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind. It is my pleasure to be in Washington, D.C., welcoming attendees to the 31st American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference, and my first as president and CEO of AFB. We are delighted to have a record number of attendees this year, as well as a record number of exhibitors, including our lead exhibit sponsor, Humanware. I want to thank our conference co-host, Virginia AER, and conference ally, VisionServe…
Author Kirk Adams
Blog Topics Conference Recaps

You Don't Have to Be Afraid of Going Blind

February 20, 2017
Kirk Adams is president and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind. This weekend in the New York Times, personal health writer Jane E. Brody tackled a sensitive topic: the fear, isolation, and anxiety that many people experience when losing their sight. The Worst That Could Happen? Going Blind, People Say. In 2007, AFB commissioned a national study on people's attitudes and opinions of severe vision loss and blindness. The survey revealed that Americans believe strongly that losing one…