Bridge Multimedia, Computers for the Blind, United Airlines Named Access Winners; Bernadette Kappen Named Schloss Recipient

NEW YORK (January 23, 2017)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is proud to announce that Bridge Multimedia, Computers for the Blind and United Airlines will be honored with 2017 Access Awards for their commitment to innovation and access for all. In addition, Bernadette Kappen, Ph.D., executive director of the New York Institute for Special Education, has been named the Irvin P. Schloss Advocacy Award recipient.
“Each year, the Access Awards highlight those organizations that have gone above and beyond to expand possibilities for the more than 20 million Americans with vision loss,” said Kirk Adams, president and CEO of AFB. “By creating innovative solutions and opportunities that level the playing field for those with visual disabilities, these companies are creating access for millions of Americans. It is also my sincere pleasure to recognize Bernadette Kappen, who has dedicated her life to ensuring access to quality education for countless students with visual impairments, with the Schloss Award.”
The Access Awards honor individuals, corporations and organizations that eliminate or substantially reduce inequities faced by people with vision loss. Previous award recipients include Apple, Inc., Google, Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T and Major League Baseball. The Irvin P. Schloss Award is given to recognize a tremendous legacy of advocacy work on behalf of individuals with vision loss. The awards will be presented to the recipients during a reception on March 3 at the AFB Leadership Conference in Arlington, Va.
About the 2017 Access Award Recipients
Bridge Multimedia has been a leader in the development of accessible multi-sensory media, including audio description and captioning for television, film, websites, museums/exhibits, live performances and gaming, in multiple languages, for over a decade.
Computers for the Blind refurbishes donated computers and installs accessible software, making both available to people throughout the country who are blind or visually impaired at little cost. This non-profit organization also has an extensive lending library of audio-described movies. 
United Airlines has made major improvements in its website accessibility, particularly for visitors using screen readers. This extra effort, above and beyond that needed just for accessibility compliance, makes the company’s site one of the easiest to access and use in the airline industry.
About the 2017 Irvin P. Schloss Advocacy Award Recipient
Bernadette Kappen been a tireless advocate on behalf of children who are blind or have visual impairments, as well as those who have emotional or learning disabilities, and their families. Kappen has provided leadership for generations of advocates throughout her teaching and administrative career. Before becoming the executive director of the New York Institute for Special Education, Dr. Kappen spent 25 years at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, where she eventually became director. Her work on language and communication programs have become models for other professionals. The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York placed Dr. Kappen among “the most influential, innovative and outstanding individuals as graduates who help make New York State great.” A graduate of Dominican College, she serves on the college’s Board of Trustees and has been recognized as one of the top 100 Alumni of Distinction.
About AFB
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.
About the American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference
The 2017 Joint AFB Leadership and Virginia AER Conference, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Delta Gamma Foundation, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ and CTA Foundation, Google, Sprint, Perkins School for the Blind, Verizon and many others, seeks to improve the quality of programs and services to blind and visually impaired children and adults. The AFB Leadership Conference provides a forum in which leadership personnel in the blindness field have the opportunity to increase their awareness of student and client needs, expand their knowledge, refine leadership skills and share concerns and strategies.
Amanda Kolling
Communications and Marketing Manager 
American Foundation for the Blind 
Tel. (304) 710-3031