In conversation with Nonprofit New York member: VISIONS

In conversation with Nonprofit New York member: VISIONS


Programs Director Taina Sanon spoke with Nancy D. Miller of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a member organization of Nonprofit New York. We will continue to highlight the work of our members because we believe when your nonprofit is stronger, all of us are stronger.

Tell me about the organization and what you do.

VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a 94 year old nonprofit social service, vision rehabilitation and workforce agency providing free services for blind and visually impaired persons of all ages and their families and unpaid caregivers. Since its inception serving primarily low income communities of color and people speaking languages other than English, VISIONS now covers every neighborhood of New York City, as well as Long Island, Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley. VISIONS is #1 in job placements of legally blind New Yorkers. VISIONS operates the only older adult center with blind and sighted instructors and staff adapted to serve blind and visually impaired older people. VISIONS offers the only after school program for blind high school students and one of only two pre-college programs in New York State for college bound blind youth. VISIONS provides free in -home, community and short term overnight residential training for independent living and work readiness. We operate the only residential vocational rehabilitation center for legally blind people in New York State. VISIONS Executive Director/CEO Nancy D. Miller started with VISIONS in 1971 as a summer counselor and has served as the Executive Director/CEO since 1987. VISIONS has a diverse and very active Board of Directors and hundreds of volunteers organized into community advisory boards.

How many are on your team?

Full time 64, part time 39; 1/3 of staff is blind.

Servicing how many of the nonprofit population?

Over 7,000+ people served annually in 16 languages.

Where do you see your organization in the next five years or ten years?

VISIONS was created in 1926 to fill the gaps in service not provided by other vision rehabilitation agencies. It began as one of the smallest niche nonprofits and is now one of only four surviving nonprofits dedicated to vision rehabilitation and workforce programs in New York City. VISIONS continues its niche strategy creating free programs to fill gaps in service with a focus on serving low income communities of color and people speaking languages other than English and multi-disabled populations and their families and unpaid caregivers. VISIONS owns a 37 acre campus in Rockland County. Better utilizing and upgrading the buildings are goals so that more blind people and their families can be served in a more state of the art campus.

How has partnering with Nonprofit New York helped you succeed?

I was a previous member and due to budget constraints dropped out. We are delighted to return as a member. Nonprofit New York offers programs, advocacy and services not offered anywhere else.

What are you currently working on that you want us to mention to our membership?

After the COVID-19 pause we are now back offering in home, community and in person short term residential workforce, mobility and independent living training in every neighborhood of New York City. The only eligibility requirement for vision rehabilitation services is legal blindness or vision loss interfering with functioning, residency in New York and a medical eye report. There is no charge and no billing of insurance.