Application Information

The online application for the 2024 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards is now open. Nominations and recommendations will be accepted until April 15, 11:59 p.m. eastern.

Applicants for the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards must demonstrate exemplary leadership and extraordinary accomplishments in improving the lives of blind people in the United States.

An application for an award can be made either by the applicant directly or by third parties who nominate an applicant.

Each application requires an essay describing the work or project to be recognized. In addition, applications must have at least one letter of recommendation in support of the nominee.

Receipt of each application will be acknowledged in writing.

Notification of Award

Candidates selected for an award will be notified no later than May 15 that the committee intends to present them with an award. Only approved applicants will be notified in advance of the award.

All awards will be presented in July during the national convention. Individuals who are selected to receive an award must appear in person and may not send a representative. Organizations, however, can send an individual representative, preferably their chief executive officer. Selected candidates must confirm, in writing, that they will appear in person to accept the award at the convention. Failure to do so by May 30 will result in forfeiture of the award.

Who Should Apply?

All award recipients must be based in the United States and their work must primarily benefit the blind of the United States. Recommendations made by one or more members of the committee, or by third parties may also be considered.


Blind and sighted individuals who have accomplished the following should apply:

  • Have broken down a barrier facing blind people in an innovative way
  • Have changed negative perceptions of blindness and blind people
  • Have challenged existing boundaries to inspire blind people to achieve new heights

Examples include developing products or techniques that increase the independence of the blind, creating and/or directing high quality programs for the blind, and mentoring or inspiring other blind people to achieve their dreams.

Individual applicants must demonstrate that the project being nominated is ongoing or has been in effect throughout a twelve-month period preceding the application date.

Applications by individuals must include at least one letter of recommendation from a person familiar with or directly affected by the work done by that individual. Individuals must be over eighteen years of age. Separate awards are established for legally blind applicants and for sighted applicants.


Applications submitted on behalf of organizations must demonstrate that the exemplary programs or services include substantial participation by blind persons as developers, mentors, administrators, or executives, and not merely as clients, consumers, or beneficiaries. For example, an organization operating a program for blind youth might demonstrate that a substantial number of the counselors, teachers, or mentors involved in the program are blind.

The organization must be able to demonstrate that its program(s) have been active within the twelve months prior to application and that a Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award will support future implementation and growth of these programs.

The application must include a testimonial from at least one blind person who has benefited from the referenced programs or services.

Award Details

The National Federation of the Blind determines the total amount available for the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards each year based on the trust income received. The number of awards and the amount of each award will be determined by the NFB’s Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Committee based on its evaluation of eligible and deserving applicants.

Each year, to the extent feasible as determined by the committee’s evaluation of applications received, one or more awards will be made to applicants in each category: blind individuals, sighted individuals, and corporate or organizational entities. However, the committee is not bound to make an award in each category during each competition year and may not do so if an application meeting the selection criteria is not available.

Sponsored by the Alfred & Rosalind Perlman Trust. Presented by the National Federation of the Blind.