National Federation of the Blind Awards $50,000
Sixteenth Annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards Presented at 2023 Convention
Houston, Texas (July 6, 2023): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has presented fifty 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 sixteenth 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 Accessible Pharmacy services, which provides solutions to make medication and diabetes management information accessible to blind patients; AstroAccess, which seeks to train individuals with disabilities for space travel; the National Federation of the Blind of Texas, for a program to involve blind youth and their families in outdoor activities in state parks; Peggy Chong, known as the Blind history Lady, to help inaugurate a new research project; and Sharon Maneki, in recognition of her over thirty years leading legislative advocacy that has improved the lives of blind people in her home state of Maryland and beyond. The top award of twenty-five thousand dollars was presented to Neil Soiffer, the developer of MathCat, a free, open-source tool to make math content accessible to screen readers used by blind and deafblind people to speak digital content aloud or display it on a connected Braille device.
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, who established a trust in their names to endow the awards. Income from the Alfred and Rosalind Perlman 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 www.nfb.org/bolotin.