The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI) is dedicated to remaining successful in accomplishing its mission: enabling blind and visually impaired Vermonters to achieve and maintain independence. True to this vision, last year VABVI put 89 cents out of each dollar donated directly into client services! A critical component of our success is preparedness for the future, and according to a recent study by Prevent Blindness America, the number of blind and visually impaired Americans will nearly double over the next twenty years. At present Vermont has approximately 10,500 visually impaired residents; for a rural state with a relatively small population, such a dramatic increase will have a noticeable impact on our towns and communities, especially as our population ages while younger generations leave in search of markets with greater career potential.
With our head office in Burlington sorely undersized for both staff and client services, and mindful of our obligation to meet any demand for needs, VABVI has chosen to increase Burlington’s resource capacity. Unable to expand the building due to site constraints and historical designation, an ambitious capital campaign to raise $3.5 million for the construction of an entirely new, state-of-the-art facility on Kimball Avenue in South Burlington was undertaken. A groundbreaking ceremony in July of 2008 officially started the project rolling and was attended by staff, clients and supporters, as well as our financier, Chittenden Bank, our architect, Wiemann-Lamphere, our realtor, the O’Brien Brothers Agency, and our contractor, Neagley & Chase Construction Co. Work continued at a steady pace until the job was completed in January of 2009, allowing us to move into our new home in February. But although the transition is now complete, our campaign goals have still yet to be met. It is crucial that we secure the necessary funds to make our greatest endeavor a true success. Your support is an investment in the future well-being of loved ones and communities across our wonderful state and is greatly appreciated!
Lions Involvement in VABVI's Expanding Horizons Capital Campaign
There is the potential that Lions International will match gifts given to VABVI through District 45 (Vermont Lions Charities) up to $75,000. Half of the funds need to be in hand before Lions International would consider the request. The remainder would have to be paid or pledged to be paid within about a year. We hope the Lion’s clubs throughout Vermont will rise to the challenge to invest and believe in our mission to enable Vermonters with vision problems, whether blindness or impairment, to achieve and maintain independence. We hope to apply to Lions International in the Spring of 2009.
The Burlington Lions have started the challenge by pledging to pay between $35,000 to $40,000 by the end of 2009. This is a great start and we hope that this will encourage other clubs to participate.