Braille Monitor               July 2023

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National Federation of the Blind 2023 Strategic Plan

by Stephanie Cascone

From the Editor: Stephanie is the head of our communications team, and most of you know of her through her active engagement on social media, her visits on many Zoom meetings, and her frequent contributions to the Braille Monitor, the most recent being last month’s illustration. Here she writes a beautiful introduction and conclusion to our Strategic Plan, and it is important that readers know our priorities, commitments, and promises to one another:

Since our revolutionary start on November 16, 1940, the National Federation of the Blind has carefully constructed strategies built upon the priorities of the membership and executed by the leaders of the organization resulting in tremendous growth.

The growth of the organization has brought great opportunities and increased complexity to the movement. Consequently, we must continuously review, revise, and communicate the evolved plans of the organization. The enclosed strategic plan is built on that tradition and reflects the organization’s priorities for our next phase of growth. The plan is significant for what is not included in it as much as what is included.

Over the last year, we went through several stages of the strategic planning process. Your feedback, your voice during the process made a big difference. Thank you. Moreover, now we move into the implement stage. We are excited to share the following framework. While the priorities of the national convention continue to drive our yearly work, this plan is the high-level framework that our Board of Directors will use to strengthen the broader capacity of our movement together.

In this plan, you will find the aspiration, mission, and values, commitments, and priorities set for the coming years.

Aspiration, Mission, Values

Aspiration Statement

We imagine a world where blind people can live the lives they want as valued and respected members of society.

Mission Statement

We work tirelessly to improve the lives of blind people by fostering personal empowerment, coordinating nationwide advocacy, and building a network of collective achievement.

Core Values

Our values are the essence of our organization and the code by which we live—the principles upon which we make our decisions.

Believe in blind people

We believe in the capabilities of blind people; we take action to advance the aspirations of the blind; and we create a loving community where we learn to be our most powerful selves.

Lead courageously

Our members and partners count on our expertise and our resolve. We will never shy away from the effort to surmount obstacles and convert skeptics in pursuit of richer, fuller lives for all blind people.

Champion collective action

We know we can’t do this work alone. The power of our membership and the support of our partners enable us to leverage collective action in pursuit of self-determination for blind people.

Foster inclusion

We recognize the diverse strengths, talents, experiences, and perspectives of our members, staff, and friends; and we cultivate an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all.

Dream big

We know that blindness need not hold you back. We want our community to feel empowered to dream big; and we’ll work with determination so those dreams can be realized.

Strategic Commitments

To reach our aspiration and fulfill our mission, each of our commitments is based on and guided by our foundational values, leading the National Federation of the Blind toward a future where blind people can live the lives they want.

Commitment #1: Innovate

Invest in innovative programming and initiatives that increase opportunity, lower barriers, and raise expectations for blind people.

Commitment #2: Include

Foster a welcoming and inclusive culture that seeks and values the contributions of membership, affiliates, and staff.

Commitment #3: Collaborate

Leverage our community of allies including employers, policymakers, donors, synergistic organizations, and strategic partners to maximize impact and affect lasting change.

Commitment #4: Dedicate

Devote the human and financial resources required to realize strategic imperatives.

Strategic Priorities

Within each commitment is a set of priorities to help drive further action.

Commitment #1: Innovate

Invest in innovative programming and initiatives that increase opportunity, lower barriers, and raise expectations for blind people. The priorities are:

Commitment #2: Include

Foster a welcoming and inclusive culture that seeks and values the contributions of membership, affiliates, and staff. The priorities are:

Commitment #3: Collaborate

Leverage our community of allies including employers, policymakers, donors, synergistic organizations, and strategic partners to maximize impact and affect lasting change. The priorities are:

Commitment #4: Dedicate

Devote the human and financial resources required to realize strategic imperatives. The priorities are:

In Closing

This plan represents the details of the promise we make to each other in this organization on a daily basis: a promise that is fulfilled in the large-scale strategic work we are doing to build our movement and the small acts of friendship that are shared among members on a daily basis. That promise is that together with love, hope, and determination, we will transform dreams into reality.

Let’s go build the National Federation of the Blind.

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