350 Henry Clay Blvd
Lexington KY 40502
Contact Information
Address 350 Henry Clay Blvd
Lexington, KY 40502
Phone (859) 276-0335
Fax 859 276-4379
Contact Name Mary Smyth
Web and Social Media
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 1985
Financial Summary
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

Started in 1985, VIPS was the first and continues to be the only agency in Kentucky and Southern Indiana specifically dedicated to meeting the early intervention needs of visually impaired preschoolers and their families. VIPS provides direct in-home early intervention services, intervention and consultation to local school districts and preschools, a variety of parent support and education services, and outreach to families across Kentucky and  Indiana. In addition, VIPS operates a full-time preschool in Louisville for children ages 2-5 who are blind and visually impaired. Fall 2016, VIPS-Central Kentucky will be collaborating with the Lexington Hearing & speech Center to provide preschool services.

We operate three offices: Louisville & Lexington, Kentucky, and Indianapolis, Indiana. 
Impact Statement

Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) is the only agency in Kentucky or Indiana that provides early intervention and educational services to children of blindness who are between birth and age five.  VIPS provides direct in-home services and center-based programs, including a full-time preschool, weekly toddler and infant programs and summer sessions.  VIPS also provides parents and caregivers with support through education to understand their child’s diagnosis, tools to teach their children in alternate ways and empowerment to advocate on behalf of their child.

Needs Statement Experts estimate that 90% of what a person learns occurs visually and that 70% of lifetime learning takes place during the first five years of life.  VIPS recognizes that it has a critical window of opportunity to help a child who is blind to achieve developmental and academic milestones before the school-age years.  VIPS only receives 6% of its funding from government agencies, with the remainder raised each year through individual donations, special events and foundation giving.  
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 have 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 charms all that come in contact with him. He volunteers to lead the class line to lunch, can’t wait to participate in Thursday tap dance class, takes great pride in his art projects and has a hug ready when his other classmates arrive in the morning. He is preparing for transition to kindergarten and will easily adapt to the mainstream environment because of the skills he has developed through educational experiences at VIPS. Multiply this story by the close to 300 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 who have a diagnosed visual impairment in Kentucky and Indiana. Between our three offices, VIPS teachers cover the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky and much of Indiana.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Jay Hatcher
Company Affiliation Business Representative
Term July 2013 to June 2015
Board Members
Mr. John B. Anders PNC BankVoting
Ms. Holly Belter-Chesser Atria Senior LivingVoting
Dr. Jerry Bizer Community VolunteerVoting
Ms. Kristen Britt Churchill Downs Inc.Voting
Mr. John Conklin Ford Motor CompanyVoting
Ms Terri Connolly Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Will Corrigan Corrigan Law, PLLCVoting
Mr. Steven Deeley Kentucky Office for the BlindVoting
Mr. Joseph P. Donohue Dinsmore & Shohl, LLPVoting
Mr. Gregory S. Dutton Print Tex USAVoting
Ms. Robin Frazier Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Robert Gunnell PeritusVoting
Ms. Ruth Hans Presentation AcademyVoting
Mr. Jay Hatcher Paul A. Casi, II PSCVoting
Mr. Erik Hitzelberger General ElectricVoting
Mr. George Hocker Ward, Hocker & Thornton, PLLCVoting
Ms. Shari M. House BB&T Insurance Services, Inc.Voting
Dr. Steven M. Howell MDKy Pediatric Ophthalmology & StrabismusVoting
Mr Brandon Jaggers Republic BankVoting
Mr. William Jessee Henderman, Jessee & Co. CPA'sVoting
Mr. Mike Johnson Data Management SolutionsVoting
Mr. Charles LeBoeuf Mountjoy Chilton Medley PLLCVoting
Ms. Therese Bird McGuire Brown-Forman Corp.Voting
Ms. Nora F. Meldrum American Commercial LinesVoting
Mr. Patrick Murta HumanaVoting
Ms. Jennifer O'Dea GE Consumer & IndustrialVoting
Ms. Ellen Prizant Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Lester Sanders Semonin RealtorsVoting
Gen Shelton Indiana Institute of Disability & CommunityVoting
Ms. Amy Sitterly United Parcel ServiceVoting
Mr. Andy Steinbach YUM! Brands, IncVoting
Mr. Mark Stiebling Price WeberVoting
Mr. Glen Stuckel Kosair CharitiesVoting
Mr. John Talbott Bardenwerper, Talbott & Roberts, PLLCVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 34
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 22
Female 12
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 Mr. John Talbott
Company Affiliation Bardenwerper, Talbott & Roberts PLLC
Term July 2013 to June 2015
Standing Committees
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Additional Board Members and Affiliations
Ms. Shelia Bayes Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelry
Mr. Daryl Carlson BB&T Insurance Services
Mr. Scott Duncan Hilliard-Lyons
Ms. Signe Dunn Martin Luther King Jr. Academy of Excellence
Mr. J.T. Fritsche Home City Ice
Ms. Miranda C. Harvey Community Volunteer
Ms. Kathy Hocker Community Volunteer
Mr. George Hocker Ward, Hocker & Thornton,
Dr. Lee Ann Jung University of Kentucky
Mr. Jamison Large Churchill McGee
Ms. Donna Lee University of Kentucky
Ms. Catherine Leslie Federal Medical Center
Ms. Vickie Lucas Auntie Annette's Pretzels
Mr. Marcus Miller Republic Bank
Mr. Steve Moss WKYT-TV
Mr. Nick Ratliff Cypress Realty Group
Mr. Darren Ripley Kentucky Horse Park
Mr. Chad Robinson Blue and Company
Mr. Charles Sword Crowe Horwath, LLP
Mr. L. Paul Wiese Community Volunteer
CEO Comments
The list of Governing Board of Directors as well as the board demographics reflect the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. There are currently 34 voting board members and 6 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. Bensinger Mar 1985 - Nov 2008
Senior Staff
Title Director of Development
Title Controller

Prior to coming to Visually Impaired Preschool Services, (VIPS), Kim Shippey had her own business doing bookkeeping and payroll for several small businesses. Ms. Shippey had also been a Primary Services Coordinator for First Steps, working with about 20 families in Jefferson County. She became involved with First Steps as a Mom, when her daughter was diagnosed with speech delays. Previously, she was Director of Alumni Relations and the Annual Fund at the Presbyterian Seminary.

Title Office Manager
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
As much as 80-90% of how a child learns is through vision. Our certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and Direct Interventionists (DI) travel to the homes of infants and toddlers who are blind and visually impaired to teach them the skills they need to reach their fullest potential developmentally and educationally. We also teach families techniques to use in their every day activities to help their child explore and learn. In addition to the in-home intervention, VIPS also welcomes children to attend a number of center-based programs, including a full-time preschool, toddler and infant programs and summer sessions. Parents are also provided with opportunities to attend special family events that are designed to provide education, support systems and resources necessary in raising a child of blindness.
Budget 1.8 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 Julie and J.T. were surprised when their doctor showed them their
newborn daughter with a head full of snow-white hair. This vision was
shocking the parents have dark hair. Their pediatrician told them
Madelyn’s hair color indicated she might have albinism or a lack of
pigment in the skin and hair. He also mentioned she may have vision
problems and referred them to Visually Impaired Preschool Services. At 9 weeks, a VIPS teacher evaluated Madelyn to see if she qualified, and
several weeks later, she began her visits.

Each week, VIPS teacher does activities to help stimulate Madelyn’s
vision. She uses a variety of toys to help Madelyn maintain visual interest. The parents report their teacher has helped them understand Madelyn’s condition and how it affects learning. Madelyn has made great strides and now sees her teacher once a month. As she learns to walk, the family and VIPS teacher will focus on safe travel skills through their Orientation & Mobility program.

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
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2016
Projected Revenue $1,956,935.00
Projected Expenses $1,952,244.00
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 Year201520142013
Total Revenue$1,768,529$1,596,816$1,650,408
Total Expenses$1,775,044$1,630,954$1,569,580
Revenue Less Expenses($6,515)($34,138)$80,828
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 Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$6,500$6,500
Individual Contributions$986,018$945,428$985,414
Investment Income, Net of Losses$729$564$443
Membership Dues------
Special Events$421,282$328,726$323,836
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$1,262,080$1,134,730$1,073,370
Administration Expense$267,348$277,955$271,696
Fundraising Expense$245,616$218,269$224,514
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.000.981.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses71%70%68%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue17%17%17%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$2,978,095$3,004,773$3,017,164
Current Assets$879,275$873,480$733,269
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$130,549$150,712$128,965
Total Net Assets$2,847,546$2,854,061$2,888,199
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Registration Yes
Address 350 Henry Clay Blvd
Lexington, KY 40502
Primary Phone 859 276-0335
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Diane M. Nelson
Board Chair Mr. Jay Hatcher
Board Chair Company Affiliation Business Representative