Human Services

Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement, Inc.

  • Milwaukee, WI
  • www.ablenow.org

Mission Statement

The mission of Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE) is to provide alternative ways for people with print disabilities to read.  

 
ABLE transcribes printed materials into professionally produced braille and digital audio formats for thousands of people across the country who are blind, visually impaired, or have other print disabilities. ABLE's vision is that everyone will have access to the printed word because reading—in whatever form it takes—is the key to learning, growth, productivity, self-sufficiency, and full participation in one's community. 

 
Examples of materials transcribed by ABLE include:

Textbooks
Daily math, science, and reading materials
Math and reading assessments
Adult and children's library books
Brailled books for blind parents to read with their children
Adult educational and professional materials
Medical forms, handouts, and crucial health-related materials
Brailled restaurant menus 
Magazines
Instruction manuals for appliances and electronic devices
Milwaukee Housing Authority information
Annual Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) guides
Summerfest audio map and brailled program
Restaurant guides and information on local happenings
Bibliographies for the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library 
Motivational materials
Nonfiction books on a variety of topics, including health, psychology, and international relations
Fiction books not available through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
Recreational materials, including newsletters, playbills, cookbooks and knitting books. 

In addition, ABLE provides a unique audio phone service, NFB-Newsline®, ABLE Channel, which allows over 2,200 people throughout Wisconsin to receive up-to-date news and information over the telephone through a synthesized voice. Examples include news articles, upcoming events and activities offered by local blindness organizations, and listings of Milwaukee area events.


All of these materials—and many others—are items that sighted people generally take for granted. Those with vision loss are often denied access to this very basic information, so readily available to the sighted world.

Service Areas

Self-reported

International

ABLE is the only braille and audio transcription service in Milwaukee and throughout southeastern Wisconsin.  While a great deal of our work is done for people in this area, we do also provide materials for people around the country and around the world.

ruling year

1988

Principal Officer since 2007

Self-reported

Ms. Cheryl Orgas

Keywords

Self-reported

blind, visually impaired, print disabled, braille, audio, digital, transcription, tactiles, reading, talking, books, magazines, disabled, dyslexic, VSVH, ABLE, Audio, Braille, Literacy, Enhancement, Volunteer, Handicapped, Services, Visually

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EIN

39-1593301

 Number

2933246396

Also Known As

ABLE, Inc.

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

Education N.E.C. (B99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

ABLE continues to broaden its impact by reaching out to organizations, government facilities and agencies so that people with print disabilities seeking services will have the accessible materials they need. We have formed a solid connection with Milwaukee Public Schools in order to be a readily available service for those blind and visually impaired students who wouldn’t otherwise have their materials at the same time as their sighted peers.

We have also formed a solid bond with the other blindness service organizations in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin so that together we can help assure that blind and visually impaired individuals get the resources they need. ABLE has collaborated with these organizations on specific projects serving blind and print disabled individuals and is committed to increasing these opportunities in the future.

With a staff of only 3.2 FTEs (full-time equivalents), ABLE relies on the efforts of 50 volunteers to transcribe printed text into braille and audio formats. Both audio and braille transcription require extensive training, and volunteer braillists must complete a comprehensive training program to become certified by the Library of Congress. Each of our volunteers dedicates between five and thirty hours every week to produce the requests we receive! 

Goals for ABLE:

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

We provide high quality audio, digital and braille transcriptions of a wide variety of printed materials. Examples include library books, textbooks, medical information, magazines, restaurant menus, wedding programs and more. In 2007, over 500 audio and braille requests serving nearly 2,000 individuals, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, libraries, businesses, fine arts agencies and other organizations were fulfilled. Our transcription services increase and enhance literacy for blind, visually impaired and print disabled people. Our staff and volunteers are using new technologies and researching other advanced technologies to adapt to the digital age and to increase production of braille and audio material. We have forged collaborations with Milwaukee Public Schools, National Federation of the Blind, other educational institutions and medical facilities to broaden accessibility to critical print information. All the books we?ve produced for the Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped have been made available to more than 6,000 patrons in Wisconsin and 793,000 patrons nationally. We are committed to providing high quality braille and audio materials for academic studies, professional life and personal needs in a timely fashion. We strive to make the printed word available to all. In 2008, ABLE launched a local phone channel on NFB-Newsline® for the blind. With volunteer support, we began placing synthesized materials (news articles, local area museums, happenings in Milwaukee, etc.) on this phone service so that almost 2,500 people in Wisconsin have telephone access to up-to-date information and news.

Category

Population(s) Served

Budget

Service Areas

Self-reported

International

ABLE is the only braille and audio transcription service in Milwaukee and throughout southeastern Wisconsin.  While a great deal of our work is done for people in this area, we do also provide materials for people around the country and around the world.

Funding Needs

ABLE is not subsidized by government funds. As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit, our work is supported by the generosity of individuals, foundations and organizations. We greatly appreciate your donations and will use them to the fullest extent possible.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

AUDIO & BRAILLE LITERACY ENHANCEMENT INC
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Ms. Cheryl Orgas

BIO

Cheryl Orgas has an extensive background in issues of blindness, advocacy, program coordination and volunteer training and supervision. Ms. Orgas is well known in the blindness field and has collaborated with numerous organizations around blindness issues over the last 25 years.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE

As a life long recipient of services at Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement Inc., (ABLE), and the Executive Director of this organization, I feel so privileged to be leading this dynamic agency into the future.  I am awed by the commitment of our staff, volunteers and donors, who guarantee that we live up to our mission of “providing alternative ways for people with print disabilities to read".

 

- Cheryl Orgas"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Harold Mester

Mitchell International Airport

Term: Apr 2007 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?