Release Date: 
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Awards $80,000

Fifth Annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards Presented at 2012 Convention

Dallas, Texas (July 5, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today presented $80,000 in cash awards to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions toward achieving the full integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality.  The fifth annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards honored five innovators in the blindness field at the National Federation of the Blind annual convention in Dallas.

The ten NFB affiliates conducting the Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) program this summer were given a joint award in the amount of $30,000 for their critically important work bringing Braille and literacy into the lives of low-vision children and their parents.  The DAISY Consortium was awarded $20,000 for its solid record of accomplishment in making reading accessible to the blind.  A $15,000 award was given to Baker & Taylor for its industry-leading example in making its e-book products accessible.  Henry “Hoby” Wedler was awarded $10,000 for his extraordinary work in making chemistry accessible to the blind, and Ann Cunningham was awarded $5,000 for her efforts in tearing down the barriers to art appreciation and participation by the blind.  

Dr. Jacob Bolotin, the namesake of the award program, was a blind physician who lived and practiced in Chicago in the early twentieth century.  He was widely known and respected in Chicago and throughout the Midwest during his career, which spanned the period from 1912 until his untimely death at the age of thirty-six in 1924.  He was particularly recognized for his expertise on diseases of the heart and lungs.  Bolotin used his many public speaking engagements to advocate for the employment of the blind and their full integration into society.  

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “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.  The National Federation of the Blind is proud to honor the memory and spirit of Dr. Bolotin by recognizing and financially supporting those who are doing exceptional work to help achieve the shared dream of Dr. Bolotin and the National Federation of the Blind—a society where the blind are treated as productive, independent, and equal citizens.”

The Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Program is funded through the generosity of Dr. Bolotin’s nephew and niece, Alfred and Rosalind Perlman.  The late Mrs. Perlman established the Alfred and Rosalind Perlman Trust to endow the award.  Income from the trust is distributed to the National Federation of the Blind and the Santa Barbara Foundation for the purpose of administering the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Program.  Mrs. Perlman also wrote The Blind Doctor: The Jacob Bolotin Story.  The book was published by Blue Point Books and is available through the National Federation of the Blind.  A portion of the proceeds from book sales will also benefit the award program.  For more information about the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Program—including more information about this year’s winners, as well as eligibility criteria and application procedures—visit