What is the National Federation of the Blind?

Marc Maurer, President, National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest, largest, and most influential nationwide membership organization of blind people in the United States. Founded in 1940, the Federation’s purpose is to help blind people, regardless of the cause or the degree of their vision loss, achieve self-confidence, self-respect, and self-determination. We advocate for the civil rights and equality of blind Americans, and develop innovative education, technology, and training programs to provide the blind and those who are losing vision with the tools they need to become independent and successful. Our goal is the complete integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality.

The National Federation of the Blind has affiliates in all fifty states, in the District of Columbia, and in Puerto Rico. We come together in local, state, and national meetings to support and encourage one another and to plan activities for our future. Most of us are volunteers, and through hard work we make our dreams of independence and productivity come true. If the problems facing the blind are to be solved (and we believe they can be), the blind of America, working collectively, must do it. We dare to dream of a bright tomorrow for ourselves, for blind children, and for those who come after us; and we are prepared to work together to bring that future into being. This is the essence of the National Federation of the Blind.

What does the NFB do to enhance opportunity for the blind?

The National Federation of the Blind is leading the way into the future for blind Americans by:

A child reading braille as her mother looks on

  • Educating the public about the true nature of blindness through our literature, through public appearances, and through our daily lives as independent and productive citizens.
  • Promoting the interests of the blind in the state legislatures, in the halls of Congress, and in the courts.
  • Helping families with blind youth ensure that their children learn the skills for coping with blindness and have access to information and educational opportunities that will allow them to keep pace with their sighted friends as they grow.
  • Fostering scholastic excellence and achievement in blind post secondary students by annually awarding blind college students in the United States and Puerto Rico over $100,000 in national scholarships and by introducing them to successful blind role models at the NFB national convention.
  • Operating the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan institute (NFBJI) in Baltimore, Maryland, the central headquarters for the activities of the NFB. The NFBJI provides state-of-the-art facilities and meeting space to support national programs developed by the blind.
  • Conducting cutting-edge research and training to address the real problems of blindness, such as model education and rehabilitation methods to empower the blind and improved instruction in Braille.
  • Studying, demonstrating, and evaluating the latest in access technology for the blind at the one-of-a-kind International Braille and Technology Center (IBTC) for the Blind. This center includes every technological device that might be used by a blind person today.
  • Operating and expanding the world's largest digital talking newspaper service for the blind, NFB-NEWSLINE®, a free service available to anyone who is legally blind. NFB-NEWSLINE® makes the texts of hundreds of local and national newspapers, as well as television broadcast schedules, localized weather alerts, and job listings available on demand to blind readers in an easily accessible format by telephone, online, or via an iPhone/iPad app.
  • Helping the blind get the information and the products we need for active, independent lives through the National Federation of the Blind Independence Market, which offers thousands of publications and hundreds of products especially designed for the blind.  Browse the catalog and shop online at www.nfb.org.
  • Providing support, information, networking, and resources regarding a wide range of professions, recreational activities, special interests, legislative issues, fundraising projects, and other areas related to blindness through over one hundred NFB divisions, groups, and committees.

How can I learn more?

  • Visit our Web site at www.nfb.org, e-mail us at nfb@nfb.org, follow us on Twitter @NFB_voice, or become a fan on Facebook.
  • Read our literature and subscribe to our publications by mail or e-mail, through NFB-NEWSLINE®, or check them out on our Web site.

Four young blind children walk together with their canes.The Braille Monitor is the voice of the National Federation of the Blind. It is published eleven times a year in Braille, in large print, and in digital audio delivered by mail on a USB thumb drive for use with NLS Talking Book players or other devices. Text and audio versions are also available online.

Future Reflections, the official publication of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (a division of the National Federation of the Blind), is a magazine for parents and educators of blind children. It is published quarterly in print, digital audio via thumb drive, and online.

The Kernel Books series is a collection of books written by the blind themselves. Each book is a mini-anthology of articles and stories by and about blind people, drawn from our real-life experiences and emphasizing our positive philosophy about blindness. The text of each book is available online and most titles can also be ordered in large print and in Braille.

For subscriptions other than by e-mail, write to us and specify which publications you would like to receive.

Blind youth gather for the Youth March for Independence

Can I join the National Federation of the Blind?

Yes, if you are blind, have low vision, or are anywhere in between and want to join others like you to build a bright future for blind Americans, or if you're sighted and want to help, then join us today! Find the local chapter in your area or contact our national office.

How can I help?

A young blind girl reads BrailleWe encourage members of the general public to join with us in spreading the word about the true nature of blindness to others and to help us locate blind individuals who need help.

Consider making a gift to the National Federation of the Blind to continue turning our dreams into reality and fund our ongoing work. A gift to the NFB is not merely a donation to an organization; it provides resources that will directly ensure a brighter future for all blind people.

National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314
E-mail: nfb@nfb.org

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