1906 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40218
Contact Information
Address 1906 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville, KY 40218
Phone (859) 685-6716
Fax 859 276-4379
Contact Name Kelly Easton
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 1985
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer People just like you make it possible for VIPS to meet its mission!  VIPS needs volunteers for family events and summer programming, in-kind donations of art supplies and cleaning materials, and financial contributions to ensure that all children who are blind or visually impaired have access to VIPS services.  Donations may be made online at, mailed to any of the VIPS' offices, or by calling 1-888-254-8477
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement

Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) empowers families by providing educational excellence to young children with visual impairments in order to build a strong foundation for reaching their highest potential.

Background Statement

In 1985, VIPS was formed when a group of community leaders decided to fill a desperate need for developmental and educational services to children, birth to 5, who were blind and visually impaired in Louisville, Kentucky (VIPS Louisville). Seeing the need for services across the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky, VIPS opened an office in Lexington (VIPS Central KY) in 1990. VIPS further expanded services in 2011 to include the whole state of Indiana (VIPS Indiana). From 8 children in 1985 to 526 in just 2017 alone, VIPS has grown exponentially in its 33 years. VIPS was, and continues to be, the only agency in Kentucky and Indiana to provide regular and ongoing early intervention services to young children who are blind and visually impaired. 

Impact Statement

In 2017, 46% more new children came to VIPS through referrals, and the total number of families served increased 16%. VIPS underwent a new strategic plan and developed “Vision 20/20”, a goal to serve 1,000 children across Kentucky and Indiana by 2020.  VIPS provided 957 hours of center based programming, and provided 22 Family Service events.  A total of 526 children and their families received services across 74 Kentucky counties.  


Needs Statement The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical years for development and learning. It is the time in which the brain develops and grows the most in a person’s life, and it is when the brain is most receptive to learning.  VIPS recognizes and utilizes this critical window of opportunity to help a child who is blind to achieve developmental milestones, and to be prepared educationally & socially to enter preschool/kindergarten. Laying the foundation for success that will follow a child into adulthood.
CEO/Executive Director Statement

By accompanying teachers on school and home visits and observing our on-site preschool, 2 Year Twos class and Play and Learn sessions, I spent my inaugural year witnessing first- hand the changes VIPS makes in the lives of these young children and their families. One of our children started in our preschool program around the same time as I began my career at VIPS and I would like to share his story of success. This three year old was sent to VIPS from foster care with little to no socialization skills, speaking in very inappropriate language and acting out violently. We were his last resort before being sent to an isolated “behavioral disorder” class. His VIPS preschool teacher assured me that he was acting out of fear of the unknown, and once he learned how to assess, identify and feel comfortable in the environment around him that things would change. Just 14 months later, this young 4 year old boy was charming all who came in contact with him. He volunteered to lead the class line to lunch, loved participating in Thursday tap dance class, took great pride in his art projects and had a hug ready when his other classmates arrived in the morning. As he transitioned to kindergarten he easily adapted to the mainstream environment because of the skills he had developed through educational experiences at VIPS. Multiply this story by the more than 450 children we serve throughout Kentucky and Indiana each year and feel a sense of pride in what your generous support accomplishes. We are facing another tough economic year, but our goal of preparing visually impaired children for brighter futures will keep us on task. Please join us again in support of this important work!

Geographic Areas Served
VIPS serves children, birth to 5, across the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky and state of Indiana.
Impact Questions
GoalsHelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact. It is the goal of VIPS for every child in Kentucky and Indiana to be “preschool/kindergarten ready” by the time they graduate from the program.
StrategiesHelpWhat are the organization's strategies for its stated long-term goals?

To meet this goal VIPS employs highly trained teachers who are certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI), or Developmental Interventionists (DI), and who have a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE). Additionally, VIPS employs teachers who are Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialists (COMS), and who have an undergraduate degree in a related field such as Education. Each COMS is certified by their professional board, The Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals. VIPS offers vision-specific center-based and in-home services to prepare children to enter preschool/kindergarten. VIPS Central KY’s center-based programs include the Little Learners Enrichment Program for 2- 3 year olds, the Early Preschool Program in collaboration with the Lexington Hearing & Speech Center for 3-5 year olds, and the Summer Enrichment program for children, birth to 5, and their siblings. The center-based programming offered at VIPS Louisville includes the 2-Day-2’s program for 2 year olds, and the Kids Town Preschool for 3-5 year olds. The VIPS Indiana location offers the Play & Learn program for children, birth to 5, and their parents and siblings. All office locations have an established Family Services program, and provide in-home services through the Direct Services program.

Nearly 92% of VIPS’ services to children are through the agency’s Direct Services program. In this program, VIPS teachers travel thousands of miles each year to provide one-on-one early intervention services to children, birth to 3, in their homes and community. The teachers use hands-on techniques with children to help them succeed in all areas of development such as cognition, concept development, language development, self-help skills and social skills. VIPS teachers guide children to utilize their other senses to learn and to understand the world around them – preparing them to be successful in school, and later in adulthood. They achieve this through various play activities, stimulating experiences and clear explanations of people, objects and events going on around them. VIPS teachers also work with the parents and caregivers demonstrating techniques to use to teach their child throughout their daily routines and activities.

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Mike Johnson
Company Affiliation Data Management Solutions
Term July 2017 to June 2019
Board Members
Mrs. Dawn BauccoTexas RoadhouseVoting
Mrs. Angela BeckettThemes Come TrueVoting
Mrs. Sharon BensingerRetiredVoting
Dr. Jerry BizerCommunity VolunteerVoting
Ms. Michelle BrowningCommunity VolunteerVoting
Ms. LeNee CarrollIN/KY/OH Regional Council of CarpentersVoting
Mrs. Brittany ClarksonRE/MAX Associates of LouisvilleVoting
Ms Terri ConnollyCommunity VolunteerVoting
Mr. Alfonso CornishNorton HealthcareVoting
Mr. Joseph P. DonohueDinsmore & Shohl, LLPVoting
Mr. W. Scott DuncanHilliard LyonsVoting
Dr. Ashima GuptaKumar Eye InstituteVoting
Mr. Paresh GuptaParexel InternationalVoting
Mr. Nathan HolladayPNC BankVoting
Ms. Shari M. HouseBB&T Insurance Services, Inc.Voting
Mr. Patrick Henry HughesHonorary Board MemberNonVoting
Mr. William JesseeHenderman, Jessee & Co. CPA'sVoting
Mr. Mike JohnsonData Management SolutionsVoting
Ms. Misty JonesJones Anesthesia LLCVoting
Mr. Todd KrausFord Motor CompanyVoting
Mr. Gary MuddAmerican Printing House for the Blind (APH)NonVoting
Ms. Diane NelsonVisually Impaired Preschool ServicesNonVoting
Mr. Dan RobbinsBrown-Forman CorporationVoting
Mr. Andy SteinbachYUM! Brands, IncVoting
Mr. Mark StieblingRetiredVoting
Mr. Glen StuckelKosair CharitiesVoting
Mr. John TalbottBardenwerper, Talbott & Roberts, PLLCVoting
Mr. Trey ZoellerCastle BrandsVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity. Add number
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 34
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 18
Female 10
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 47%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 96%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Ms. Shari House
Company Affiliation BB&T Insurance Services, Inc.
Term July 2017 to June 2019
Standing Committees
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Additional Board Members and Affiliations
Ms. Megan BetzEskenazi Health Center Senior Connection
Mr. Jack BrownRetired
Mr. Eric BruunCID Capital
T. Rowan Candy Ph.D.Indiana University School of Optometry
Ms. Jenny FeinmanGlazer's of Indiana
Ms. Tana HellwigCommunity Volunteer
Mr. George HockerWard, Hocker & Thornton
Ms. Jennifer KellyIndiana University Libraries
Ms. Donna LeeUniversity of Kentucky
Ms. Catherine LeslieFederal Medical Center
Mrs. Sarah MillsStoll Kennon Ogden
Mr. Steve MossWKYT-TV
Ms. Lisa PoffIndiana DeafBlind Project
Ms. Amy ShrakeBloomington Parks and Recreation
Mr. Charles SwordCrowe Horwath, LLP
Mrs. Kathleen TurnerThe Council of State Governments
Dr. Shaista VallyUniversity of Kentucky
Ms. Shannon WestPediplay
Mr. John WykesRepublic National Distribution Company
CEO Comments
The list of Governing Board of Directors as well as the board demographics reflect the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. There are currently 24 voting board members and 4 non-voting board members.
Board Elections and Terms:

The Officers of the corporation shall serve for a term of one year. The Officers shall begin serving their terms on July 1. An Officer may serve no more than two consecutive terms in the same office, other than the Treasurer. The Treasurer can serve up to six years.


The term of office shall be three years. Directors shall be elected in the manner as set out in the Article of these By-Laws pertaining to elections.

Directors may serve a maximum of two consecutive three-year terms. The Immediate Past President shall continue on the Board for at least one year following his/her term as president. If his/her term as an elected member of the Board does not cover this additional year, that person shall serve as an ex-officio member for that year.

Governance Practice: VIPS does not include non-voting members in reporting board member contributions. If we included their donations, the percentage would be nearly 100%.
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Diane M. Nelson
Term Start Nov 2008

Prior to coming to VIPS in October of 2008, Diane Nelson had been with the Buddeke Co. for 30 years. She served as Vice President of Administration and Finance for the past 20 years. She earned her BA in Business Administration and her MBA (2004) from the University of Louisville. Ms. Nelson has been recognized repeatedly as an emerging leader in the Louisville community. She has an extensive record of volunteering in Louisville and has served on committees to raise funds and organize events for the City of Louisville, Easter Seals, Dare to Care, Louisville Zoo, Kosair Children’s Hospital, American Red Cross, Kentucky Derby Festival and many, many other worthy organizations.

Co-CEO Ms Kathy Mullen
Term Start Aug 2012
Kathy Mullen served as a Technical Assistant for First Steps for more than 20 years. She also served as a Developmental Interventionist helping children birth to three years of age in the KIPDA region. Her experience included working with children with autism, Down Syndrome, motor delays, sensory issues, and global developmental delays. Ms. Mullen served as the Program Director for Down Syndrome of Louisville prior to working at VIPS.
Full Time Staff 17
Part Time Staff 3
Volunteers 55
Contractors 4
Retention Rate 100%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 22
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 22
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs
Ms. Sharon G. BensingerMar 1985 - Nov 2008
Senior Staff
Title Executive Director
Experience/Biography s.   
Title Director of Education
Title Director of Development
Title Director of Finance

Title Office Manager
Title Regional Director
Title Regional Director
Title Assistant Director
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

Nearly 92% of VIPS’ services to children are through the agency’s Early Childhood Intervention program. In this program, VIPS teachers travel thousands of miles each year to provide one-on-one early intervention services to children, birth to 3, in their homes and community. The teachers use hands-on techniques with children to help them succeed in all areas of development such as cognition, concept development, language development, self-help skills and social skills. VIPS teachers guide children to utilize their other senses to learn and to understand the world around them – preparing them to be successful in school, and later in adulthood. They achieve this through various play activities, stimulating experiences and clear explanations of people, objects and events going on around them. VIPS teachers also work with the parents and caregivers demonstrating techniques to use to teach their child throughout their daily routines and activities.

Budget 2.3 million
Category Education, General/Other Special Education
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5), People/Families with of People with Disabilities, People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Program Short Term Success VIPS educates parents on how best to teach their child to succeed and how to become their child's best advocate. VIPS serves children from birth to age 5 years.
Program Long term Success VIPS wants every child it serves to reach his/her full potential by the time he/she reaches school age.
Program Success Monitored By VIPS is one of many providers of Kentucky's Early Intervention System (aka First Steps) and follows the regulations of this program. Every child in the First Steps program has a team of professionals, like VIPS, that determine goals based on the diagnosis and parental input. Every 6 months those goals are reviewed to see if the child has met them. Much of the child's success depends on how involved and proactive the parents are as well as the medical diagnosis. In addition to this formal process, VIPS gets parent input from surveys.
Examples of Program Success


Arianna was officially diagnosed with Oculocutaneous albinism type 2 (OCA2). This means Arianna was born without the usual pigment (color) in her body. She also has severe alternating eye turning along with extreme photophobia, and nystagmus. During the phone call of her diagnosis, I immediately had many thoughts that ran through my mind. I was afraid and sad for her. I wondered what kind of quality of life she would have. At times, I felt angry that this happened to her. I remember feeling a bit helpless and very overwhelmed! I called VIPS. I broke down crying explaining what was going on. They were so nice and helped to calm me down. They explained how they could relate to my situation and were very familiar with it. They explained that we were now a part of the VIPS family. I found comfort knowing that someone else could relate and was there as a support. VIPS has held true to their word. They were there then and they are still here today. They helped get Arianna started in the Early Childhood Intervention program. They offered in home therapy, fun activities, family events, information, and resources. Arianna was about 9 months old when she started. We first started by going to all the events. Later Arianna attended their Little Learners classes. In the start, Arianna suffered from extreme separation anxiety and was very dependent on us. They helped transform Arianna into a child that no longer has separation anxiety. She is full of life and has an abundant amount of determination. She doesn't let her disability stop her. Instead she just finds new ways to overcome and reinvent herself. She tells me all the time, "Mommy it's okay, I can do this." So I step back and watch her and she always comes up with a way to overcome whatever is in her way. She amazes me every single day. 


Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Management Succession Plan? Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2019
Projected Revenue $2,398,475.00
Projected Expenses $2,397,765.00
Endowment Value $10,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Revenue$2,002,985$1,825,090$1,768,529
Total Expenses$2,204,682$1,886,083$1,775,044
Revenue Less Expenses($201,697)($60,993)($6,515)
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 Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$1,124,618$935,236$986,018
Investment Income, Net of Losses$313$401$729
Membership Dues------
Special Events$346,148$369,273$421,282
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$1,725,443$1,450,218$1,262,080
Administration Expense$279,300$253,108$267,348
Fundraising Expense$199,939$182,757$245,616
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.910.971.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses78%77%71%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$2,683,768$2,884,725$2,978,095
Current Assets$692,994$846,244$879,275
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$98,912$98,172$130,549
Total Net Assets$2,584,856$2,786,553$2,847,546
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Registration Yes
Address 1906 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville, KY 40218
Primary Phone 859 685-6716
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Diane M. Nelson
Board Chair Mr. Mike Johnson
Board Chair Company Affiliation Data Management Solutions