BLUEGRASS COUNCIL OF THE BLIND INC
1093 S Broadway
Suite 1214
Lexington KY 40504-2677
Contact Information
Nonprofit BLUEGRASS COUNCIL OF THE BLIND INC
Address 1093 S Broadway
Suite 1214
Lexington, KY 40504 2677
Phone (859) 259-1834
Contact Name Theresa Thomas
Web and Social Media
Some things available in our lending library!
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 2005
Former Names
Blue Grass Council of the Blind
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer

There are many ways to donate to BCB! We welcome donations online, by mail, or in person and accept monetary, stocks, bequests, and in-kind gifts. You can also donate your vehicle, sign up for Kroger Community Rewards, Amazon Smile, and more! For more ways to donate, visit our website at www.bcbky.org.

Some in-kind donations we are in need of include office supplies and assistive technology equipment such as smartphones, computers, tablets, magnifiers, CCTVs, ZoomText, etc. We also accept donations of gift cards to places like Kroger, Walmart, or other businesses for our Peer Support Group Meetings, Quarterly Membership Meetings, or conferences we attend where we need to bring a door prize. Silent auction items are also needed for our annual fundraising event.

Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Statements
Mission Statement The mission of Bluegrass Council of the Blind (BCB) is to provide resources and services to all people affected by a loss of sight, improving lives for all by empowering persons with a loss of vision to continue living independently as productive, contributing members of their community and to educate the public on the rights, abilities and needs of the blind and visually impaired.  Services are available to anyone directly or indirectly impacted by the effects of a loss of sight.
Background Statement

Founded by Cyrus Bayer in Lexington, KY in 1975, this grass-roots organization has been offering peer support and assistive technology services for 40 years in Kentucky. In 1978, BCB obtained their 501(c)3 nonprofit status from the IRS and in 1980, became an affiliate chapter of the American Council of the Blind. BCB is also proud to celebrate its 20th year at our current location on South Broadway, which is conveniently located near downtown and the University of Kentucky campus. BCB has maintained this accessible location since 1995, offering stability, familiarity, and consistency for the Central KY community.

BCB is proud of its long history of serving persons affected by vision loss and is excited to celebrate its 40 years of accomplishments and service with an Open House scheduled for October 2015, during Blindness and Visual Impairment Awareness Month in Kentucky.

BCB is the only nonprofit organization in Lexington serving the needs of blind and visually impaired adults exclusively, with its programs of Peer Support and Assistive Technology and Training, BCB provides a wealth of services to enhance the quality of life for adults with vision loss, their families, caregivers and other professionals working with the blind and visually impaired. The Peer Support Program provides monthly group luncheon meetings with speakers and added a mentoring component last year that allows for one-on-one support and training. BCB also maintains an assistive technology lending library for those individuals that are unable to afford or otherwise obtain assistive technology. In addition, BCB continues to develop collaborative efforts with other organizations serving the blind and visually impaired community such as: Kentucky Office for the Blind, Radio Eye, Low Vision Services of KY, Cardinal Hill Low Vision Services, Independence Place, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, LFUCG Department of Aging and Disability Services, KY Office for the Blind State Rehabilitation Council, and is an affiliate chapter of the American Council of the Blind.

Impact Statement

Bluegrass Council of the Blind has served the adult blind and visually impaired (b/vi) community in the Central Kentucky Area since 1975 through information, referral, education outreach, advocacy, and assistive technology. Its monthly Peer Support Group Meetings have provided individuals with the opportunity to socialize, be provided with lunch, and listen to a presentation on a topic that is not only educational, but is directed at providing an enhanced quality of life. More recently BCB has expanded the scope of this program by adding a Mentoring component and monthly Community Outings. BCB works continuously to do outreach, make referrals, and provide advocacy to those b/vi individuals who live in Fayette and surrounding counties. BCB has established a working partnership with the Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP) to re-train visually impaired and disabled individuals to help them re-enter the workforce. BCB has achieved representation on the Kentucky Office for the Blind State Rehabilitation Council and has also collaborated with a variety of organizations that provide services to the b/vi community. BCB is a founding member of the Blind Services Coalition of Kentucky and BCB’s Director of Programs serves as the Secretary. Since its inception, BCB has published a printed quarterly newsletter; in collaboration with Radio Eye, an oral version is also broadcast. In the past year, this was changed to a bi-monthly newsletter. 

Needs Statement

Our most pressing needs include:

1. Funding for general operating costs.
2. Assistive technology aids - donated or funds to purchase - iPads, smartphones, CCTVs, talking assistive products, 20/20 pens, etc.
3. For blind and visually impaired persons to get involved as volunteers and as potential employees.
4. Update our strategic plan.
5. A Health Initiative Coordinator that will help lead the BCB Health in Sight Program.
CEO/Executive Director Statement

As Director of Bluegrass Council of the Blind, I have been challenged to promote awareness of the abilities, rights and specific needs of people with a vision loss.  This is truly the Council OF the Blind.  BCB members are self-governing and very cognizant of their abilities to serve as productive citizens of the community.  BCB is unique in the fact that blind and visually impaired members require specialized equipment/software specific to their visual needs.  Advances in technology have allowed visually impaired people to keep up with sighted counterparts in jobs, serving on boards and other positions.

 

Board Chair Statement


Service Categories
Secondary Organization Category Education / Alliances & Advocacy
Tertiary Organization Category Science & Technology / Management & Technical Assistance
Geographic Areas Served
Areas
Kentucky
Our primary service area includes Fayette and surrounding counties including Anderson, Bourbon, Clark, Jessamine, Madison, Montgomery, Scott, and Woodford, however, due to lack of available services in other Kentucky counties, we do provide information and services to persons in other counties upon request and as we have resources available. 
Impact Questions
GoalsHelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact.

 

The goal of BCB is to enhance the quality of life for persons affected by vision loss by empowering participants through peer support, education, technology, information, and interaction. We strive to assist persons experiencing a loss of vision with the adjustments necessary to cope with losing sight and become independent, self-sufficient, contributing members of their community. Services are offered to anyone affected by vision loss, including family, caregivers, community members and professionals working with blind and low vision adults.

For anyone experiencing vision loss, especially later in life, learning to cope, adjust, and manage day to day tasks is a basic human need, as well as a significant improvement in their quality of life. A recent study from Thomas Jefferson University revealed the best treatment for those who have macular degeneration was a combination of physical and emotional treatment from occupational therapists, which reduced depression. BCB provides very similar services occupational therapy low vision programs provide, but the superior thing about our program is our services are free, implemented by people who have firsthand knowledge of the trials and triumphs of living with vision loss.

The majority of our consumers are over 55 and are low income. Since BCB offers our services free of charge, our programs are essential to the estimated 40% of b/vi adults in our service area over 55. According to the Family Caregivers Alliance, nearly 3.5 million American over 40 have some degree of vision loss, most commonly from age-related conditions. BCB improves the quality of life for consumers by giving them the ability to manage everyday tasks that was taken away from them when they lost their sight. Consumers are able to manage daily tasks independently, they are more employable, and lead safer and healthier lives.

According to Lighthouse International, visual impairment is one of the biggest risk factors for falls and hip fractures. Vision loss can decrease visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, glare sensitivity, depth perception, and the ability to adapt in different lighting conditions. Through the use of assistive technology devices and the support and sharing of information, consumers learn techniques and methods to be more safe and independent.

According to the American Foundation for the Blind, 75% of adults who are visually impaired are not in the labor force and Lighthouse International reports the average annual earnings of individuals with vision impairment who are in the work force are about 33% lower than those earned by a person without disabilities. 75% of BCB consumers have low income and cannot afford to purchase necessary AT devices. Peer support and assistive technology loans assist b/vi individuals in becoming more independent and active in their communities, teaching them the skills needed to join the workforce or stay in their careers.

Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Judy Potter
Company Affiliation BCB Board President
Term Jan 2017 to Dec 2019
Board Members
NameAffiliationStatus
Mrs. Jenne Culbertson Sculpture HospitalityVoting
Ms. Tess Flynn Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Mike Hartsock Member at LargeVoting
Mr. Gary Knack Member at LargeVoting
Ms. Teresa Livengood Member at LargeVoting
Mr. Bob McCray Member at LargeVoting
Ms. Judy Potter Clean Living CenterVoting
Mr. Philip Rose Member at LargeVoting
Mr. Paul Scott RetiredVoting
Mr. David White TreasurerVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 7
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Ms. Judy Potter
Company Affiliation Vice President
Term June 2015 to Dec 2017
Standing Committees
Finance
Membership
Nominating
Comments
CEO Comments

Our success is reflected in the increase of participants and the number of those achieving. Our membership is up by 16% over last year. The number of attendees for our peer support group meetings is up by 36%. Participants are surveyed following each session or presentation and approximately 90% respond as having gained new knowledge of techniques or information that is helpful in their own life for gaining independence, self-sufficiency, or adapting to vision loss.

In 2016 we expanded our office, meeting and training areas to over double. Now we are able to reach more persons affected by vision loss and increase attendance. Our conference room now seats a maximum of 50 people. With several consumers who use wheelchairs, scooters or walkers, mobility we now have the ability to comfortably accommodate everyone.

We encourage consumers to get the support and information they need to be successful and self-sufficient, but we also encourage them to come and share and support others, even though they are independent and successful. Techniques, resources and technology are constantly changing and being able to share this type of information on an on-going basis allows consumers to constantly learn, achieve and help others. Growing our membership and attendance is a big success.

Finding just the right match for mentees is another challenge. We have mentors and mentees on a wait list. Even though we have the numbers to make pairings, that doesn’t mean they would be a good match. We are researching ways to recruit mentors with the time and talents to be good mentors, and the best way to keep participants active and interested until we find a good match.

Other challenges include transportation, awareness, and space. Most b/vi consumers use Red Cross Wheels or depend on family members or friends to transport them to meetings. For those outside Fayette County, participating in any programs here involves a costly commute, as no affordable transportation is offered across county lines. Using Wheels is affordable, but only available within the county and requires a significant time commitment. This option is not functional for persons who are working or have other daytime obligations that require punctuality. The challenge of transportation directly affects attendance and participation.

CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Theresa D Thomas
Term Start Jan 2013
Email info@bcbky.org
Experience
Theresa has been a resident of the Bluegrass since 1998 and has become an active part of the community. As a visually impaired person herself, her passion for serving the blind comes from first-hand knowledge of the challenges of someone with vision loss. As a child, Theresa began losing her vision due to a genetic disorder that is degenerative. At age 12 she was rendered “legally blind” with a visual acuity of 20/200 which has digressed to approximately 20/800 to date.

Theresa is determined not to let her vision loss result in a “loss of vision”. Her background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from the University of Evansville and more than 25 years of community service: as both an employee and volunteer for many non-profit agencies and organizations across Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. Theresa was working for God’s Pantry Food Bank as a valued member of the Development team when she was approached about the position at BCB. Prior to God’s Pantry, she worked for the United Way of the Bluegrass as a Community Building Coordinator. She has served on several non-profit boards including Independent Transportation Network, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Glendover Elementary PTA, as well as volunteering and fund-raising for numerous organizations such as The American Cancer Society, National Downs Syndrome Society, The American Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Association, and The Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Staff
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 3
Volunteers 40
Contractors 1
Retention Rate 100%
Management Reports to Board? N/A
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Title Peer Support Program Coordinator
Experience/Biography Susan was born in Covington and first moved to Lexington in 1970. She is now a retired clinical psychologist and currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the BCB VI Peer Services Program. She has been a member of the Bluegrass Council of the Blind for 19 years. Susan also currently serves as Vice Chair of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Kentucky Office for the Blind. She enjoys doing volunteer work for Radio Eye, a reading service for the print-impaired, and her hobbies include art, reading, and music. She is legally blind from birth, and enjoys using her skills to help other blind and visually impaired people, their families and friends.
Title Finance Director (Contract Labor)
Experience/Biography Jenne has been a Lexington resident since 2000. She graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA degree where she majored in Finance. Past experience includes working with local nonprofits’ financials, accounting instructor and software trainer, and business owner.
Title Executive Administrative Assistant
Title Assistive Technology and Training Program Coordinator
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Comments
CEO Comments

Our success is reflected in the increase of participants and the number of those achieving. Our membership is up by 16% over last year. The number of attendees for our peer support group meetings is up by 36%. Participants are surveyed following each session or presentation and approximately 90% respond as having gained new knowledge of techniques or information that is helpful in their own life for gaining independence, self-sufficiency, or adapting to vision loss.

Our challenge of space was solved in 2016 when we expanded our office, meeting and training to double of what it was. The new spaces also accommodate those who use wheelchairs, walkers or scooters.

We encourage consumers to get the support and information they need to be successful and self-sufficient, but we also encourage them to come and share and support others, even though they are independent and successful. Techniques, resources and technology are constantly changing and being able to share this type of information on an on-going basis allows consumers to constantly learn, achieve and help others. Growing our membership and attendance is a big success.

Finding just the right match for mentees is another challenge. We have mentors and mentees on a wait list. Even though we have the numbers to make pairings, that doesn’t mean they would be a good match. We are researching ways to recruit mentors with the time and talents to be good mentors, and the best way to keep participants active and interested until we find a good match.

Other challenges include transportation, awareness, and space. Most b/vi consumers use Red Cross Wheels or depend on family members or friends to transport them to meetings. For those outside Fayette County, participating in any programs here involves a costly commute, as no affordable transportation is offered across county lines. Using Wheels is affordable, but only available within the county and requires a significant time commitment. This option is not functional for persons who are working or have other daytime obligations that require punctuality. The challenge of transportation directly affects attendance and participation.

Description

1. Information, Referral, and Intake

BCB accepts and responds to inquiries for information on programs and services available to persons affected by vision loss and provide appropriate referrals, as needed, to other programs and organizations.

2. Group Meetings and Community Outings

Our group meetings are held once a month, on the 4th Wednesday from noon – 2pm. The meetings include presentations with informative share sessions.
Our community outings are scheduled monthly (typically on the 2nd Monday of the month).

3. Mentoring

One-on-one support is provided in the mentoring component of Peer Support. Interested mentees are paired with our members for a minimum of a one year relationship.

4. Membership

BCB is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and membership is $10 a year for both a BCB and ACB membership. Membership meetings are held quarterly in March, June, September, and December and include a dinner and business meeting.

 

Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served Adults, Elderly and/or Disabled,
Description This program offers demonstrations and hands-on trials of technology items, group and individual training of accessibility features on smartphones and tablets, introduction of software and applications for blind and low vision PC and tablet users, and a technology lending library. 
Category
Population Served , ,
Program Comments
CEO Comments The challenge for BCB is to maintain the current level of service and support to people with vision loss and to increase these services within Lexington and the surrounding area. With the graying of America, we are going to see more and more able-bodied, mentally alert people losing their vision due to age, and/or disease. We are searching for funding that will allow us to implement a strategic plan to take us into the future.
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Dec 2009
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Collaborations
Beep Baseball Kentucky, Radio Eye, Blinded Veterans Association, Blind Services Coalition of Kentucky (BSCK), Independence Place, ITNBluegrass, Kentucky Office for the Blind, Kentucky State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, Mayor's Commission for Citizens with Disabilities, National Federation of the Blind-Lexington, Senior Community Service Employment Program, Senior Services Commission of Lexington/Fayette Urban County Government, United States Blind Golf Association, United Way, University of Kentucky Social Work Association, University of Kentucky Visual Impairment Program, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Low Vision Services, and the VA Medical Center, LFUCG Agency on Aging and Disabilities.
Affiliations
AffiliationYear
American Council of the Blind1980
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Financials
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2018
Projected Revenue $143,460.00
Projected Expenses $143,437.00
Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available). Revenue from foundations and corporations may be included in individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
------
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified------
Individual Contributions$158,217$105,679$77,460
------
------
Investment Income, Net of Losses--$5,580$5,558
Membership Dues$1,695--$2,030
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind$4,676----
Other------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$124,687$92,728$61,614
Administration Expense$18,703$9,566$11,650
Fundraising Expense$12,469$25,401$370
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.320.871.16
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%73%84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue8%24%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$175,187$143,510$171,879
Current Assets$164,576$142,539$169,063
Long-Term Liabilities----$835
Current Liabilities$1,987$1,950--
Total Net Assets$173,200$143,510$171,044
Form 990s
2016 2016 990EZ
2015 990 EZ
2014 990 2014
2013 990EZ 2013
2012 990EZ 2012
2011 990EZ
2010 990EZ
2009 990EZ
2008 Form 990
Audit Documents
2013 2013 Audit Review
2011 Audit Review
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Registration Yes
Address 1093 S Broadway
Suite 1214
Lexington, KY 405042677
Primary Phone 859 259-1834
Contact Email theresa@bcbky.org
CEO/Executive Director Theresa D Thomas
Board Chair Ms. Judy Potter
Board Chair Company Affiliation BCB Board President