Focusing On The Future

For more than 90 years, The Central Association For The Blink And Visually Impaired (CABVI) has served individuals of all ages who have vision loss, helping them to achieve their highest level of independence.

The organization has a long history of being forward-focused as demonstrated by its continued growth and willingness to embrace new technology and trends in its industry throughout the years.

CABVI’s Focus on the Future initiative is a fitting example of the organization’s commitment to proactive innovation. The largest component of the multiyear $14 million effort is the construction of a new 23,000-square-foot, $8 million state-of-the-art vision wellness center in Downtown Utica. CABVI’s current vision rehabilitation programs on Kent Street serve over 1,600 people in eight counties. The new center will allow the organization to accommodate twice that number and offer the latest technology and techniques to consumers, all while expanding employment opportunities for the visually impaired.

The Community Foundation awarded CABVI $300,000 in initial grants to acquire property and begin construction. Recognizing the tremendous impact this project would have throughout the region, The Community Foundation also offered a challenge grant. If CABVI could raise $500,000, The Community Foundation would match it dollar-for-dollar.

“CABVI continues to advance opportunities for individuals who are blind or visually impaired in innovative ways that also promote economic development and neighborhood revitalization,” said Alicia Dicks, president/CEO of The Community Foundation. “Through the challenge grant, we hoped to inspire community members to support the mission and vision of this great organization and the work they are doing to transform our community.”

The community’s response to the challenge was overwhelming, with CABVI raising more than $1 million to secure The Community Foundation’s additional $500,000.

“To declare that ‘Central New York came through in a big way’ would be an understatement,” said Rudy D’Amico, president & CEO of CABVI. “Area residents did more than just meet the challenge, they doubled it. I am proud that CABVI’s supporters, which included many of The Community Foundation’s fundholders, exceeded the goal.”