Release Date: 
Friday, July 8, 2011
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 $50,000

Fourth Annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards Presented at 2011 Convention

Baltimore, Maryland (July 8, 2011): The National Federation of the Blind today presented $50,000 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 fourth annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards honored four innovators in the blindness field at the National Federation of the Blind annual convention in Orlando.

The Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness, housed at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, was given an award in the amount of $20,000 for its groundbreaking leadership in the field of education and rehabilitation for blind people.  Awards in the amount of $10,000 were given to Dr. Cary Supalo, of West Lafayette, Indiana, who has pioneered alternative tools and techniques that allow blind people to participate in the sciences; Jerry Munden, of Charlotte, North Carolina, who spearheaded the development of products that help blind diabetics manage their diabetes independently; and the Braille Institute of America’s Braille Challenge®, a nationwide competition based out of Southern California, which motivates blind students to learn and enjoy Braille. 

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