Release Date: 
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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 Announces 2010-2011 Race for Independence

Fundraising Effort to Focus on Education, Technology for Blind Americans

Baltimore, Maryland (September 1, 2010): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people in the United States, today announced the 2010-2011 Race for Independence, a fundraising effort focused on improving education and technology for blind Americans and supporting other NFB initiatives.  The Race for Independence is the annual campaign to raise funds for the National Federation of the Blind Imagination Fund, which supports the education, technology, and research projects of the NFB Jernigan Institute, as well as programs conducted by the fifty-two affiliates and over seven-hundred local chapters of the Federation.  The Imagination Fund supports innovative programs that encourage blind youth to participate in scientific careers and help seniors to adjust to vision loss.  NFB members can sign up to be Imaginators at  Imaginators are individuals who have pledged to raise at least $250 for the Imagination Fund campaign.  The Race for Independence will be spotlighted in public NFB events, particularly the public debut of a vehicle equipped with a nonvisual interface allowing a blind person to drive it independently.  A Ford Escape, equipped with nonvisual interface technology, will be driven by a blind individual  who will navigate part of the famed Daytona International Speedway course on January 29, 2011, as part of the pre-race activities at the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona.  Four of the top Imaginators from the 2010 Race for Independence campaign and six Imaginators from the current campaign will have special opportunities to participate in the Daytona event.  To be eligible to become one of the six Imaginators from this campaign selected to participate in this event, Imaginators must raise at least $250 by December 1, 2010.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The Imagination Fund represents the hopes and aspirations of blind Americans.  Through this effort we are able to create innovative research, training, education, and technology programs that improve the lives of the blind and move us closer to our ultimate goal of full integration into society on a basis of equality.  The crisis in Braille literacy for blind children and the proliferation of technology that, if not properly designed, will threaten the independence of the blind mean that time is of the essence.  But I am confident that with the help of our members and friends, we will ensure that blind children are literate and can pursue the career of their choice; that blind people have access to cutting-edge technology; and that opportunities for all blind Americans are limited only by our capacity to dream.”

Parnell Diggs, chairman of the NFB Imagination Fund, said: “The Race for Independence is quite simply the expression of our desire to speed toward our goal of achieving first-class citizenship status in society at an ever-increasing pace.  It is the anchor of the National Federation of the Blind’s Imagination Fund, the annual campaign to raise proceeds for NFB programs at the national, state, and local levels.”

To sign up to be an Imaginator and help build the Imagination Fund, please or call (410) 659-9314, extension 2371.