National Federation of the Blind Awards $60,000

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National Federation of the Blind Awards $60,000

Fourteenth Annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards Presented at 2021 Convention Banquet

Baltimore, Maryland (July 12, 2021): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has presented sixty thousand dollars in cash awards to individuals and organizations that are a positive force in the lives of blind people and whose work advances the goal of helping transform their dreams into reality. At the National Federation of the Blind annual convention, the fourteenth annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards honored six individuals and organizations who are helping blind people live the lives they want.

Awards of five thousand dollars each went to Darnell Booker, coach and general manager of the four-time beep baseball world-champion Indianapolis Thunder and Krishna Washburn, founder and artistic director of Darkroom Ballet, teaching dance to blind and low-vision performers. Awards of ten thousand dollars each went to Davis Technical College, for its program to train blind aerospace machinists and make the related equipment and software accessible; Independence science, creators of innovative products to make STEM education and careers accessible to the blind; and Dr. Natalie Shaheen, an assistant professor at Illinois State University, for her efforts to advance equity and accessibility in K-12 education for blind students. The top award of twenty thousand dollars went to Eye Learn, a blindness skills training program for people in the Detroit area who are blind or losing vision, which notably continued and even expanded its efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Jacob W. Bolotin (1888-1924) was the world’s first physician who was blind from birth. He achieved that goal despite the tremendous challenges faced by blind people in his time. Not only did he realize his own dream, but he also went on to support and inspire many others.

“Dr. Jacob Bolotin was a pioneer who overcame low expectations and discrimination to become a renowned member of the medical profession without the benefit of the support services and civil rights protections available to blind people today,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “The National Federation of the Blind is proud to honor the memory and spirit of Dr. Bolotin by recognizing and financially supporting those individuals and organizations who are also breaking through the barriers created by low expectations and doing exceptional work to help achieve the shared dream of Dr. Bolotin and the National Federation of the Blind—a society in which the blind, like all other Americans, can pursue their goals and live the lives they want.”

The Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards Program is funded in part through the generosity of Dr. Bolotin’s nephew and niece-in-law, Alfred and Rosalind Perlman. The late Mrs. Perlman established the Alfred and Rosalind Perlman Trust to endow the awards. Income from the trust is distributed to the National Federation of the Blind and the Santa Barbara Foundation to help administer the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards Program. For more information about the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards Program—including more about this year’s winners, as well as eligibility criteria and application procedures—please visit