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Braille Institute Orange County

 527 North Dale Ave.
 Anaheim, CA 92801
[P] (714) 503-2120
[F] (714) 527-7621
[email protected]
Liz Morton
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Employer Identification Number 95-1641426 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

Founded in 1919, Braille Institute's mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss.

Mission Statement

Founded in 1919, Braille Institute's mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2017
Projected Expenses $2,100,000.00
Projected Revenue $3,000,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Low Vision Rehabilitation Consultations
  • Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Training
  • Daily Living Skills Training
  • Child Development and Youth Services Programs
  • Library & Resource Center

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Founded in 1919, Braille Institute's mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss.

Background Statement

Braille Institute was founded in 1919 by the efforts of one man, J. Robert (Bob) Atkinson, and has grown tremendously in the decades since.  In 1912, Bob, a Montana cowboy, was blinded by an accidental gunshot wound while visiting family in California.  Determined to remain as independent as possible, Bob learned to read braille and soon began transcribing books for his personal library. In less than five years he had transcribed nearly one million words, which is still considered a significant feat today.  In 1919, impressed by Bob's determination,  philanthropists Mary and John Longyear pledged $25,000 over 5 years to help him establish the Universal Braille Press, which would later become Braille Institute of America.  From that point, until his death in 1964, Bob and Braille Institute produced millions of pages of brailled reading material including the King James version of the Bible--all 21 volumes--and the first brailled Webster's Dictionary.  In 1926, Braille Institute began publishing The Braille Mirror, which was printed continuously for 82 years and, in 1948, the brailled anthology for children, Expectations, began publication.  During his lifetime, Bob's lobbying efforts resulted in federal legislation to fund the production and national distribution of raised-print materials through the Library of Congress Services for the Blind, known currently as the National Library Service (NLS), of which Braille Institute is a branch library.  Determined to support blind people working, Bob also successfully lobbied for a bill to provide rent-free space for blind vendors in federal office buildings.  
In 1967, services expanded to Orange County, where we built our first regional center in Anaheim, opened in 1971.  During the next 20 years, three more regional centers were opened in Rancho Mirage, Santa Barbara, and San Diego.  Most recently, we opened our first Neighborhood Center in Laguna Hills to support the growing number of seniors with vision loss in south Orange County.  Through our six centers, hundreds of Outreach locations, and in-home services, Braille Institute provides direct programs and services to tens of thousands of blind and visually impaired adults and children each year.  These direct services include a wide range of education, social, and wellness classes geared toward practical day-to-day adaptation to life with less or no vision. Other free services include Low Vision Rehabilitation Consultations to help older adults maximize their remaining vision, education for youth that focuses on the Expanded Core Curriculum, and Child Development Programs to help families of newborns adapt to raising a blind or visually impaired child.  In 2000, Braille Institute expanded its programs across the U.S. and Canada through its Braille Literacy Initiative, hosting our first annual Braille Challenge competition.  In it's 18th year, this program is a national reading and writing contest in braille that motivates blind and visually impaired students to practice their literacy skills. 
Funded almost entirely by private donations, this past year Braille Institute provided services to nearly 45,000 men, women, children and their families - all completely free of charge!

Impact Statement

Braille Institute stands alone as the largest service provider of its kind in Orange County, serving thousands of people each year through our Anaheim Center and new Laguna Hills Neighborhood Center.  Services include: daily living skills training; health and wellness resources; low vision rehabilitation consultations; child development and youth services; educational and cultural enrichment programs; technology training; and access to braille and audio books through our Library.

Needs Statement

Braille Institute’s most pressing need is annual operating support, as we are almost completely dependent upon donations from our community to continue this critical work.
We are very grateful for the many community members that donate their time and energy to our organization and we are proud to report a 13:1 ratio of volunteers to professional staff members.   As such, we're always in need of new friends to support our work throughout Orange County.  

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

Donations can be made in person at either of our centers, over the phone, through the mail, or online at  Our work is also dependent on those that are generous with their time, and we have a plethora of volunteer opportunities available.  

Geographic Area Served

Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County
Braille Institute's services are provided at our centers in Anaheim and Laguna Hills, at numerous outreach locations throughout the county, as well as in-home for those that need services where they live.

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services
  2. Education -
  3. -



Low Vision Rehabilitation Consultations

Our Low Vision Rehabilitation Services help adults adapt both their lifestyle and thinking when it comes to making the most of their remaining vision. This is a critical – and all too often overlooked – component in the continuum of health and vision care for those who are losing their sight often to such diseases as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and others. Through this program we provide free consultations with a trained Low Vision Rehabilitation Specialist. 
First, clients meet with our intake councilor to discuss goals, expectations, difficulties, and daily tasks that the client wants to accomplish, such as reading prescription labels, seeing traffic lights to cross a street safely, cooking for family, or using a computer. Then the client works with our Low Vision Rehabilitation Specialist to experiment hands-on with more than 100 different types of assistive devices, including lighting, magnification and text-to-speech tools. Clients are educated on the impact of color, contrast, textures, sunlight and different types of artificial light on visual acuity. They learn how to identify obstacles, communicate with family and friends about their needs, and make informed decisions. To further help clients achieve their personal goals, our specialist refers them to other free services offered by Braille Institute. Clients can come as often as necessary, which is critical for individuals coping with progressive eye disease, which often necessitates the need to continue learning new skills and ways of living as their vision changes.  Low Vision Rehabilitation Consultations are offered at our campus in Anaheim, our Laguna Hills Neighborhood Center, and at outreach sites throughout Orange County.
Budget  $250,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served Other Health/Disability Adults Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success 
Clients leave Low Vision Rehabilitation Consultations armed with the tools they need to maximize their remaining sight and improve their life.  That may include, but is not limited to: items that increase contrast and magnify, such as filter glasses and handheld magnifiers; information for technologies that fit their needs and where to obtain these products; referrals to other Braille Institute services, such as Orientation & Mobility, our award-winning library, or Independent Living Skills training, which are offered in-home or on campus.
Program Long-Term Success 

Low Vision Rehabilitation Consultations are in demand because of long-term results that make a significant impact in the lives of clients.  Outcomes include:

  • the ability to read and write once again 
  • increased or maintained mobility
  • improved capacity to sustain a household
  • learning skills to continue employment
  • remaining an active community member
Program Success Monitored By  Efforts-to-Outcomes software, phone surveys, feedback to staff, and follow-up appointments.
Examples of Program Success  --

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Training

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Training is provided by certified specialists who work one-on-one with clients on how to use sensory awareness, public transportation, specialized GPS devices, and a white cane to travel safely and without fear. Nearly all of Braille Institute’s O&M training is provided where clients need it the most – in their home, surrounding neighborhood, work place, or other locales such as a community center or university. While the majority of those we serve are seniors, our O&M specialists provide services for young and working adults. In Orange County alone, Braille Institute’s O&M specialists serve over 300 unique clients each year. Unlike some government or non-profit organizations, Braille Institute does not limit the instructional hours a client may receive, allowing for customized training that is tailored to a clients’ needs and abilities.

Budget  $250,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success 

O&M training works to help:

  • a student with vision loss learn the layout of any campus they attend and to identify their classrooms
  • an individual with significantly reduced depth perception move around their home with confidence and safety
  • a young father or mother continue grocery shopping for his or her family
  • anyone navigate a new job site
Program Long-Term Success 

Orientation & Mobility training teaches the skills that allow people with visual impairment to move about the world.  It makes an enormous difference in a person’s ability to combat the isolation and depression that all too often accompany vision loss, and gives them the opportunity to be an active community member and productive citizen.

Program Success Monitored By  Efforts-to-Outcomes software, phone surveys, feedback to staff, and follow-up appointments.
Examples of Program Success  --

Daily Living Skills Training

Whether someone has been blind since birth or lost their vision as a result of age or disease, he or she needs to learn new ways of accomplishing tasks that help them live life on their own terms. Our Daily Living Skills Training program teaches essential skills, such as:

  • How to identify money, manage finances and pay bills.
  • Maintaining a safe and organized kitchen; using adaptive cooking skills to prepare healthy meals; and nutrition tips for special needs (e.g., diabetes, weight loss).
  • How to use new technologies that are critical for success in school and work such as compuers, smartphones, and tablets. Currently, there are few places where blind or visually impaired people can go to learn how to use an array of mainstream and adaptive technologies that have been developed to meet their special needs.
  • Knowing their legal rights as disabled individuals and resources available to them
  • Grooming and hygiene; doing laundry; identifying clothing; keeping a clean home.
  • Sensory awareness and identifying their surroundings.
  • Time management and personal organization.

We also offer peer support groups where clients can exchange ideas, reduce social isolation and learn from each other.  The Daily Living Skills program is offered at both of our centers, in-home, and at outreach locations throughout Orange County.

Budget  $400,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Adults Elderly and/or Disabled Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Given the wide-variety of skills we teach at Braille Institute, students can...

  • make a connection with another student with the same eye disease during a peer support group
  • learn how to safely use a knife to chop vegetables or how to pour a beverage without spilling
  • identify ways to match clothing and put together a wardrobe
  • discover how to use  accessibility programs on a computer to continue working or attending school
  • explore a new smartphone/tablet app that functions as a document reader, or another that can read currency, or learn how to use social media apps to stay connected to family and friends
Program Long-Term Success 

All of our programs are designed to restore self-confidence and enable people who are blind and visually impaired to live as independently as possible.  Our Daily Living Skills program helps students:

  • regain confidence in the kitchen
  • stay connected through technology
  • manage their home and finances
  • take pride in their personal appearance
  • rediscover fun and fitness through wellness activities
Program Success Monitored By  Efforts-to-Outcomes software, phone surveys, feedback to staff, and follow-up appointments.
Examples of Program Success  --

Child Development and Youth Services Programs

The Child Development and Youth Services Programs for blind and visually impaired children, birth to 18 years, provide a continuum of care that improves potential for future success through cultivation of skills that lead to increased confidence and independence. Research indicates that the visual system serves as the primary source of information for the brain and is estimated to influence early development by as much as 80%. Blind or visually impaired children face challenges dramatically different than their sighted peers, such as delays in muscle control, speech, mobility and cognitive abilities.

Our Child Development program offers disability-specific services that address developmental areas significantly impacted by the absence of vision. The primary components of Child Development are (1) Early Intervention Services (birth to 3); (2) Preschool Transition and Inclusion Support (3 to 5 years); and (3) Parent Education and Resources.
As children grow, we continue to support their development. By utilizing adaptive techniques and specialized instruction, students in our Youth Services program (ages 6-18) learn they are just as capable as their sighted peers.  The program focuses on the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC), which incorporates personal development activities, academic support, and daily living skills classes so visually impaired young people will be better equipped for success socially, in school and, later on, in work. 
Budget  $350,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Other Health/Disability
Program Short-Term Success 
Successes include:
  • The parents of an infant born blind are referred to us by Regional Center. Our initial meeting with parents gives them with an understanding of how development may be different from a sighted child, but that there are ways to encourage emerging skills. They are put in contact with other families going through similar experiences and learn that we'll will be with them every step of the way.
  • A toddler suddenly becomes blind from illness and is referred to our experts. We attend medical visits with parents to help them understand their child's diagnosis then build a plan of action to maintain their son or daughter's development.
  • Parents want their visually impaired 4 year old to attend a preschool close to home, so we work with the preschool and district to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  • An 8 year old comes to us with no knowledge of how to wash, dry, fold, and put away their clothing because others have been doing these sorts of chores for them. In class, he/she is given a tactile "tour" of a washing machine and dryer, getting a hands-on lesson in how to use them. They learn how to separate loads, how to fold a shirt, in addition to other skills for organizing their room.
  • A young adult has never cooked for themselves, but wants to live in the dorms when she/he goes to college. We teach this young adult to prepare a meal--from traveling to and negotiating the grocery store, to proper food storage and preparation techniques, to using a knife and oven.
Program Long-Term Success 
Through our Child Development program, parents learn to adapt to raising a visually impaired child and how to cope with the emotions often experienced by families during this time.  They connect with other professional and community resources, and discover how they can advocate for their child’s needs.  We help families thrive.
In our Youth Services department, children ages 6-18 take appropriate initiative for their lives, growing self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, and self-esteem.  They explore higher education, all while growing their own personal empowerment and social adeptness.  Parents learn that their visually impaired children are capable individuals with dreams and aspirations, and are shown how to reinforce lessons at home. 

Program Success Monitored By  Efforts-to-Outcomes software, phone surveys, feedback to staff from students & parents, and follow-up appointments.
Examples of Program Success  --

Library & Resource Center

Braille Institute is a branch of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a division of the Library of Congress. Our Orange County Library & Resource Center provides access to more than one million books in braille and audio recorded formats, from recreational and informational titles to hundreds of descriptive videos and dozens of today’s most popular periodicals, and loans playback machines free of charge.  These are offered not only to individuals that have vision loss, but also to anyone who may have difficulty reading otherwise.

The Library is one of the Center’s most-used resources, circulating nearly 200,000 items per year to thousands of OC residents. Our library also offers other important services, including:
  • Telephone Reader Program (TRP), which allows patrons to use their telephone to hear recorded news, newspaper ads, radio shows, magazines, and more.
  • Reference – Foreign language books are also available through inter-library loan and a Reference Library that can assist patrons in locating audio and braille books that are not available in our Library.
  • Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) app allows patrons access to over 47,000 audio and braille books and magazines through their smartphone or tablet.
Budget  $250,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Education & Technology
Population Served Adults Other Health/Disability Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

New patrons leave their first visit with an informed knowledge of the services provided through the library and, if interested in audio books, a digital reader and several titles. 

Short-term successes include:
  • a woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) learns how to use BARD to download onto their Android or Apple device
  • a man with blindness checks out the latest Time Magazine in braille print
  • a middle-aged individual with kidney failure requests a book for when she's on dialysis
  • a college-aged student with vision loss finds a popular title so they can participate in a book club with sighted friends
  • a high school student with dyslexia asks the librarian for recommendations for a paper she's writing
  • a senior who is legally blind calls in to listen to grocery ads so they can do their weekly shopping
Program Long-Term Success 

For many people living with low to no vision, or those who have reading or other physical disabilities, which limit their ability to read or hold a book, traditional printed materials can be difficult to enjoy.  Our Library brings them the joy of reading, combats social isolation, and ensures that all citizens have the opportunity to learn.

Program Success Monitored By  The National Library Service, feedback to staff, surveys, and follow-up appointments.
Examples of Program Success  --


CEO/Executive Director Lisa Jimenez
CEO Term Start May 2017
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Gloria Coulston Vice President, Program Delivery --
Janice Herzberg Vice President, Organizational Resources & Design --
Peter Mindnich President --
Nancy Niebrugge Vice President, Program Content --
Reza Rahman Chief Financial Officer & Vice President of Finance --
Sandy Shin Vice President of Marketing and Communications --
Anthony Joji Taketa Vice President, Corporate Secretary, and General Counsel --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 27
Number of Part Time Staff 4
Number of Volunteers 381
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 95%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 0
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 31
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 0
Male: 0
Not Specified 31

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? --
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency -- --
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency -- --
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency -- --

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Mr. George Thomas
Board Chair Company Affiliation Thomas Partners Investments, LLC
Board Chair Term Sept 2016 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Michael C. Corley KPMG LLP Voting
Caryl O. Crahan Community Volunteer Voting
Percy Duran III Community Volunteer Voting
James H. Jackson Alisal Guest Ranch Voting
Dr. Linda Lam USC Keck School of Medicine Voting
John F. Llewellyn Forest Lawn Memorial-Park Association Voting
Thomas Miller City National Bank Voting
Richard A. Nelson Retired Voting
John G. Nuanes Community Volunteer Voting
Jeanne Olenicoff Community Volunteer Voting
Nishan O. Partamian Trinity Asset Management Voting
James J. Rhodes Community Volunteer Voting
Harvey Strode UCBB Capital & Transition Solutions LLC Voting
Lester M. Sussman Resources Global Voting
George E. Thomas Thomas Partners Investments, LLC Voting
Donald Whinfrey -- Voting
Diane Whitaker OD Duke Eye Center Voting
Delbert White Cam Tek, LLC Voting
Diane Wilkinson Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 0
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 18
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 5
Male: 14
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths --
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria --
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions --
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Board Orientation --

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $7,377,390 $1,427,627 $4,435,201
Total Expenses $2,144,085 $2,368,000 $2,321,000

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$291,989 $82,778 $123,041
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $260,909 $313,718 $381,031
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $6,824,492 $1,031,131 $3,931,201

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $1,633,793 $1,816,256 $1,828,948
Administration Expense $195,112 $236,800 $239,063
Fundraising Expense $315,180 $314,944 $252,989
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 3.44 0.60 1.91
Program Expense/Total Expenses 76% 77% 79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 57% 79% 50%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $0 $0 $0
Current Assets $0 $0 $0
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $0 $0 $0

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities nan nan nan

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets nan% nan% nan%
Endowment Value $15,000,000.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 5%
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Capital Campaign Purpose The four cornerstones of our Transforming Lives: A New Vision for Braille Institute in Orange County Campaign are: (1) a new Neighborhood Center in Laguna Hills (opened Sept 2016), (2) in-home services (launched Fall 2016), (3) expanded public education and outreach (launched Fall 2016), (4) a new Braille Institute Anaheim Center (Opens 2019).
Campaign Goal $10,000,000.00
Capital Campaign Dates Jan 2017 -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $5,500,000.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.