Human Services

National Braille Press

  • Boston, MA
  • www.nbp.org

Mission Statement

The guiding purposes of National Braille Press are to promote the literacy of blind children through braille and to provide access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community affairs. Since it was founded in 1927 as a printing press to provide the first regularly issued braille newspaper to the blind community in Boston, NBP has expanded its efforts to ensure that blind people have the same access to information as sighted people in a medium they can read - braille. Braille is a writing system that enables blind and partially sighted people to read and write through touch. NBP remains committed to providing children's literacy through braille books, as well as self-help and traditional print reading materials for blind or visually impaired adults. In a typical year, NBP serves approximately 10,000 individuals through its outreach programs and publication services. Today, National Braille Press, still located in Boston, is one of only a handful of braille publishing houses nationwide. NBP's Key Programs and Services Focus on Three Areas: 1. Children's Literacy Development 2. Education Materials/Resources 3. Technology Tools

Main Programs

  1. 1. ReadBooks! Because Braille Matters
  2. 2. Hands On! Books for Blind Children
  3. 3. Lifelong Literacy
  4. 4. Center for Braille Innovation (CBI)
  5. Great Expectations: Making Picture Books Come Alive for Blind Kids
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Blindness impacts all demographic groups, so it has no geographic boundaries. National Braille Press serves blind children, adults, and their families across the United States and in Canada. While our constituents are national, we are anchored in our local and state communities.

ruling year

1937

Principal Officer since 2008

Self-reported

Mr. Brian A. Mac Donald

Keywords

Self-reported

Braille, Literacy, Reading, Information Access, Children

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Also Known As

NBP

EIN

04-2104740

 Number

0593650957

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

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

Accomplishments 1. Great Expectations - Bringing Picture Books to Life for Blind Kids NBP marked 30 years of its Children's Braille Book Club by launching an innovative program called Great Expectations- Bringing Picture Books to Life for Blind Kids. The overarching goal of Great Expectations is to promote playful multi-sensory activities to complement children's books that will inspire blind and visually impaired children to become actively engaged and excited about reading. 2. Reach for the Stars Project Textbook - Tactile Graphics' Project NBP was recently asked to provide tactile overlays for a book developed by astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute, SAS Corporation, and the National Federation of the Blind. The Reach for the Stars book was designed to inspire students of all abilities to pursue careers in science. The abundance of graphs, charts, and other visual data in today's math and science materials, have made it challenging to present math and science to visually impaired students. NBP has created tactile overlays for all of the interactive images in the free e-book including the Hubble Space Telescope, constellations, and more! The book was made possible with support from NASA. 3. B2g - Verizon Innovation Program NBP's new b2g (braille to go) device for the blind and visually impaired was accepted into the Verizon Innovation Program that helps bring innovative solutions to market. NBP now has access to engineering resources and state-of-the-art labs at Verizon facilities. The b2g is a refreshable braille device for thousands of dollars less than the same type currently available. The device will provide the independence blind people need to connect and participate effectively in today's information driven society. We are gearing up for a production run of the new b2g in the summer/fall of 2015. 4. U.S. Department of Education Wireless Research Center Grant NBP is proud to be awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies in 2014 to develop an assistive app for mobile platforms. The app will address the lack of an accessible word editing app for the blind and visually impaired in the Android marketplace. 5. The Touch of Genius Prize Developed to inspire innovators to promote braille literacy for blind and deaf-blind people worldwide, each year the Touch of Genius awards $20,000 for professional and educational devices, software and apps, and gaming software or apps that promote tactile and braille learning, and braille or tactile-related hardware. The Touch of Genius Prize is made possible by The Gibney Family Foundation. NBP's 2014 Touch of Genius Prize was awarded to: * First Place - Carnegie Mellon Research Group/TechBridgeWorld - Braille Tutor, an automated braille writing tutor which addresses challenges associated with learning to use a slate and stylus to write braille. * Honorary Mention - Rahul Namdev, MIT Ph.D. Candidate - Intuitive STEM Accessibility System, an interactive platform to make complex STEM material accessible using a hyperbraille devic.

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

1. ReadBooks! Because Braille Matters

ReadBooks! is a children's braille literacy program designed to foster a love of books and reading at an early age and to support families of blind preschool children. We distribute free book bags filled with braille and other tactile materials to start blind children reading braille and prepare their sighted parents to promote braille literacy. Three book bags are available, one for 0-3, 4-5, and 6-7 year olds. The contents of each book bag is geared toward the targeted age group and is available in English or Spanish.A network of community-based early intervention specialists distributes book bags nationwide. These professionals review the contents of the book bag when they give it to a family and show them ways to use the materials to help their child. This personal touch is key to ensure that parents are comfortable with starting to learn braille and know that beginning to read braille books with their child is an easy first step toward braille literacy.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Other Named Groups

Budget

$120,000.00

Program 2

2. Hands On! Books for Blind Children

Hands On! supports blind children and their parents in the effort to make braille literacy a part of their lives and a foundation for future education and success. This initiative encourages parents to read braille books with their blind child to instill an early love of reading and provide braille resources that will allow their child to enjoy a lifetime of literacy.The Hands On! programs include: Bumpy Basics, ReadBooks! Because Braille Matters, Children's Braille Book Club, Science and Technology, and Textbooks and Standardized Tests. All of the Hands On! materials are converted from the print versions to braille, which ensures that blind students can share the experience of reading popular books like Curious George and Harry Potter as well as use the same textbooks and take the same standardized tests including college entrance exams such as the SAT's.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Other Named Groups

Budget

$915,000.00

Program 3

3. Lifelong Literacy

Lifelong Literacy encompasses NBP's efforts to ensure that blind people have access to information throughout their lives, starting with a foundation of literacy developed at an early age and access to information in a variety of forms for blind people of all ages, including hard-copy braille and braille adapted for digital tools. NBP provides a wide range of braille books, magazines, and other resources to start blind children reading and give braille readers of all ages important tools for communicating, working, and enjoying hobbies. Key to promoting lifelong literacy for blind people is keeping up with rapid advances in technology. A nonprofit since 1927, we NBP is addressing the impact of digital media on the braille readers we serve. We want blind people to have as many resources as they need to access information that is vital to pursue educational and professional career opportunities. Braille and technology are both part of that equation.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Adults

Budget

$675,000.00

Program 4

4. Center for Braille Innovation (CBI)

A hub for imaginative new ideas and inventive tools, NBP's Center for Braille Innovation (CBI) was founded to streamline information access for blind people through braille and tactile-based technology. With technology changing daily, a variety of affordable braille tools are vital for blind people to read, learn, and communicate. CBI challenges NBP to provide information faster, more efficiently, and with new technologies that allow blind people to keep pace with the rest of the world.CBI's core project is the development of the B2G (Braille To Go) - an affordable, compact, refreshable-braille computer that blind people will rely on to access email and the internet, and to compose and read documents - similar to the way that sighted people depend on tablets. This device stands out from those that are currently available through its lower cost, and the capacity for users to read and write. We are not striving to make a profit with this project - any profit will be folded back into Research & Development.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Budget

$356,600.00

Program 5

Great Expectations: Making Picture Books Come Alive for Blind Kids

National Braille Press (NBP) is delighted to report that we are preparing to roll out a new program called Great Expectations: Making Picture Books Come Alive for Blind Kids in the fall of 2014. The program will integrate storytelling with the Expanded Core Curriculum for blind and visually impaired kids and their families across the country. The innovative program brings children's books to life for blind and visually impaired children using a multi-modal approach that includes songs, tactile play activities, and picture descriptions to enrich the reading experience for blind kids that they miss by not seeing the pictures. The goal of this innovative program is for parents to approach reading in a way that goes beyond the traditional experience of passively reading a storybook, to one that stimulates a child's pictorial imagination, musical aptitude, tactile discrimination, orientation and mobility skills, and braille readiness. Storybooks for young children are picture-driven making it difficult for blind or visually impaired kids to fully participate. Too often, reading can be a passive experience for blind kids since they miss the connections that sighted kids enjoy by seeing the colorful and engaging illustrations which help to bring the story to life. For sighted kids approximately 80-90% of learning occurs through visual observation during the first five years of life (Ferrell, 2011). Yet, students with visual impairments are expected to enter kindergarten with the same readiness skills as their same aged peers (Duncan, 2011). Parents will: learn how to describe a picture in a book for a blind reader, how to expand on a book's concepts, and how to instill a love of reading in their child Children will: have a greater understanding of stories, become a describer, increase their vocabulary, develop listening skills, and increase their literacy skills

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Infants/Babies (under age 5)

Budget

$71,900.00

Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Blindness impacts all demographic groups, so it has no geographic boundaries. National Braille Press serves blind children, adults, and their families across the United States and in Canada. While our constituents are national, we are anchored in our local and state communities.

Additional Documents

Funding Needs

Hands On! Books for Blind Children programs encourage blind children to begin a lifetime of literacy. Programs include: ReadBooks!, Bumpy Basics toddler program, and the Children's Braille Book Club. For children, sharing and reading books is a critical feature of their development. It fosters a love of reading. For blind or visually impaired children who are exposed to braille reading at a young age the experience can also foster a positive attitude about braille. Literacy experiences begin early in childhood and what better way to bond with your baby or young child then to cuddle on the sofa with a good book! However, parents of blind and visually impaired children are often overwhelmed by the medical and emotional concerns that accompany having a child with a disability. Reading braille can often be a secondary concern for them, and one that parents are unsure how to approach. Learning about braille literacy and introducing their child to braille are new skills that can be daunting for parents, but they can learn if they have the right resources. Learning braille at an early age is correlated with a blind person's lifetime achievement. Although 70% of blind people in the United States are unemployed, those who use braille are employed at a significantly higher rate. Without braille, blind children are not able to read and write adequately and they fall behind quickly in school. Ultimately, they face the adult world ill prepared to pursue higher education or a meaningful career. $2,112,564 in charitable support funds all our Hands-On! children's programming this fiscal year.

Accreditations

Charity Navigator

Affiliations + Memberships

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

American Council of the Blind

World Blind Union

National Federation of the Blind

photos


External Reviews

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Financials

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

NATIONAL BRAILLE PRESS INC
Fiscal year: Apr 01-Mar 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.

National Braille Press

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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Principal Officer

Mr. Brian A. Mac Donald

BIO

Brian Mac Donald joined National Braille Press as president in May, 2008. He is responsible for overall operations and functions including finance, development, human resources, marketing, manufacturing, programs, IT, and business development. Since arriving at NBP, Mac Donald has restructured the organization including strategic planning, marketing, revenue generation, planned giving, and corporate partnerships. He also developed the Center for Braille Innovation, which focuses on leveraging new technologies for production, tactile graphic development, and to produce an affordable braille tablet and other products for the blindness community.Mac Donald holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Boston College and an undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont. Prior to joining National Braille Press, he was Chief Operating Officer and CFO of New Hampshire Audubon where he helped lead a major restructuring that included strategic planning, change management, and improved revenue generation. Prior to Audubon, he was the Senior Director of Sales and Revenue for over twenty years at New England Aquarium.Mac Donald was a founding board member and treasurer of the Island Alliance in Boston, a non-profit organization that helped create the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. He also founded the Northeast Whale Watching Association, authored an economic impact study, and testified before Congress on the re-authorization of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Above all, our most important achievement remains the connection we have with our customers and supporters. This past year NBP started a luncheon program in various cities across the country to meet with our donors, customers and friends in each region. So far we have held these programs in Pittsburgh, Boston, Seattle, and Washington D.C., and in every city we were amazed at the large attendance and the outpouring of testimonials, thanking us for providing books at a fair price and for our work in support of affordable braille technology and braille literacy. Every one of our supporters count—from the $5 monthly giver to the anonymous supporter of $8,000 to the family foundation that gives $50,000—none of this great work could occur without the continued generosity from each of you. I am often asked, ""What is the future of braille with this explosive growth in technology?"" and the answer remains the same: Braille will always be relevant whether it is on paper or in an e-braille format and we're proud to be at the forefront of providing braille for that reason. Similarly the 100,000 tactile graphics and diagrams we produced this year for textbooks and tests will always be needed to help young children learn about basic shapes, and for students to understand complex images and concepts in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) applications. Next year we will already have many more new accomplishments to discuss, as we balance the need for traditional braille materials with the digital braille world. Thank you for believing in our work, trusting us to deliver quality braille products at the lowest price possible, and for your continued financial support. Our doors are always open in Boston, and we invite you to visit, and meet us in person for a tour. We hope to see you soon! "

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Clifford Watkin

Ipswich Bay Advisors

Term: June 2014 - June 2017

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?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

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


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

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


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BOARD COMPOSITION

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


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

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