A photo of CABVI's building as seen from Gilbert Avenue.

Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) is a private, not-for-profit organization with a long and respected tradition of offering comprehensive services to people who are blind or visually impaired. CABVI is not a state or federal agency and does not directly receive tax dollars.


  • In 1911, the Cincinnati Association for the Welfare of the Blind was founded to employ and assist people who were blind. By 1913, sixteen men made brooms and mops.
  • In 1946, the agency name was changed to Cincinnati Association for the Blind.
  • In the 1960s Cincinnati Association for the Blind initiated several rehabilitation services. By 1968, the agency had changed locations several times before moving to its current location to accommodate the growing workshop.
  • In the 1980s computer access services and early childhood and youth services were established.
  • In January 1998 Radio Reading Services of Greater Cincinnati (RRS) joined Cincinnati Association for the Blind in a combined effort to expand services throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.
  • In 1999, Cincinnati Association for the Blind started and completed Building Dreams, our building renovation project that replaced outdated systems, made more efficient use of interior space on all 6 floors, and created new, state-of-the-art broadcast studios for Radio Reading Services.
  • In 2001, our base supply center, OFFICE RUNWAY, opened for business on February 15 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. This retail supply center provides new distribution channels for blind-made products as well as jobs for people who are blind or visually impaired.
  • In 2004, to better represent our mission and the services we provide, the Board of Trustees approved a new name for the agency - Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI).
  • In 2005, a new logo was designed to complement our new name.  The symbol expresses the energy and more than one part that creates the development of the individual to reach independence.
  • In December 2006, John H. Mitchell became the agency’s fifth Executive Director after the retirement of Hank Baud.
  • In August 2007, in an effort to reach underserved populations, the agency established an outreach program with the addition of an outreach social worker, a position funded by a grant through the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

  • In October 2007, CABVI’s Board approved a three year strategic plan that had been developed over a four month period.  The plan called for specific initiatives to steer the agency in the direction of the newly developed agency vision, “CABVI will excel at fulfilling and responding to community needs by being the principal source and resource for people who are blind and visually impaired.” 

  • In the summer of 2008 after a two-year exploration and realization that offering employment options in the service sector was a need of the community, CABVI began the process of establishing a Call Center Training Program.  The Center was officially opened in April 2009.

  • On March 20, 2009, CABVI presented the findings of the Community Needs Assessment that was completed in late 2008.  The study, which involved 422 participants, was completed in collaboration with the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and six other community organizations whose services involve people who are blind or visually impaired.

  • In June of 2009, CABVI in collaboration with Clovernook completed two focus groups.  Ultimately, a list of 26 new program or service enhancement initiatives were developed from the Needs Assessment and Focus Groups which will be used to make future changes and additions to the services that CABVI provides to the Community.

  • In November of 2009 in collaboration with the Clovernook Center, the Cincinnati Eye Institute and the Deaconess Foundation, a volunteer transportation service, ITN of Greater Cincinnati was established to provide additional transportation options to individuals who have vision loss and seniors who are in need of transportation.

  • In December 2009 CABVI purchased two new vehicles for the Agency with funding received from a foundation grant.

  • At the January 28, 2010 Board Meeting, CABVI’s Board unanimously passed a resolution to establish a Joint Planning Task Force between CABVI and the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. 


    On October 6-9, 2010, CABVI hosted the Annual Training Conference of the National Industries for the Blind in Cincinnati.  This was the first time this conference was held in Cincinnati and presented a great opportunity to showcase CABVI as a model agency to the more than 65 agencies participating and over 500 attendees nationally.  The event was also the launch of CABVI’s Centennial year.
  • On April 26, 2011 CABVI hosted the 100th Annual Meeting of the Association with over 90 members of the association in attendance.  The historic meeting included a presentation by Dan Hurley, former Vice President for History and Research at the Cincinnati Museum Center, who spoke on Philanthropy in Cincinnati at the turn of the 20th Century.
  • On May 4, 2011, CABVI celebrated its Centennial with the Cincinnati Community by hosting a celebration event on Fountain Square to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the agency’s Incorporation in the State of Ohio on May 4, 1911.  The 90-minute event included formal proclamations from City, County, State and Federal elected officials as well as music from the Clark Montessori Steel Band and the Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band.
  • On August 31, 2011, CABVI hosted “CABVI Night at the Reds”.  Activities included pregame and scoreboard recognition of CABVI’s Centennial.  CABVI friends, staff and volunteers purchased 626 tickets for the event; John Mitchell threw the ceremonial first pitch and CABVI Board President, Michael Lichstein, delivered the game ball to the starting pitcher.
  • On Sunday, September 11, 2011, CABVI hosted an Open House with guest speaker, Kevin O’Connor, whose presentation about life with his visually impaired son was entitled “Do You See What I See”.  More than 65 people attended.
  • On Thursday, October 20, 2011, CABVI held its Centennial Capstone Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.  Special awards were presented to Sue Friedlander for over 13 years of outstanding service to CABVI, including her leadership role in the merger of CABVI and Radio Reading Services.  The Kroger Company and, in particular CABVI’s first Board President, Barney Kroger, who served from 1911 to 1914.  The award was accepted by Reuben Shaffer, current CABVI Board member and Kroger Company Chief Diversity Officer, and several other Kroger employees.  The third special recognition award was presented to the United Way of Greater Cincinnati for their outstanding support of CABVI since 1916; the award was accepted by UWGC President, Rob Reifsnyder.  Honorees also included 100 members of the Centennial Honor Roll.  Approximately 280 people attended.
  • On February 9, 2012, CABVI and the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired signed a historic Strategic Partnership Agreement designed to optimize the use of community resources in supporting the health, welfare and independence of people who are blind and visually impaired in Greater Cincinnati.  

This historical review of the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired reveals an agency, which moves with the times while at the same time fulfills its mission.  The early periods reflect the spirit of that time--to do for blind and visually impaired persons as a group apart.  Since the 1960's, the emphasis has been on enabling blind and visually impaired people to function independently alongside their sighted peers as a result of services provided by skilled professionals.

Among the challenges for the new millennium will be meeting the ever growing demand for services while maintaining CABVI's solid foundation of professionalism and quality service; tapping new sources of revenue to address the issues of overall operating expenses increasing at a rate greater than revenue; and developing new markets and new products, as well as improved production efficiency, to maintain the viability of the Industries Program and Base Supply Center.


CABVI continues to be a dynamic organization, growing and changing to meet the needs of an increasing number of people in the Greater Cincinnati area.  CABVI assists more than 4,300 persons annually, employs between 50 and 60 people who are blind or visually impaired in the Industries Program, and has annual sales of approximately $10 million in Industries Program products.


Persons who are blind, visually impaired, or print impaired may choose from a wide range of services to help them live more independently. Our services are provided by qualified, certified instructors and staff with highly specialized skills.


CABVI publishes a newsletter, Viewpoint, and an Annual Report. These publications are available in print, large print, braille, CD and in audio on our website.


If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send your name and address to info@cincyblind.org or call 513-221-8558, ext. 248. Your information is kept confidential and is never provided to another organization or company.


Telephone solicitation campaigns claiming to benefit persons who are blind are being conducted in our community by other organizations. Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is not involved in these solicitations, does not condone the methods used, and does not accept money raised through these campaigns

If you have questions about a telephone solicitation call, you may want to contact the Ohio Attorney General at: Charitable Law Section, 101 East Town Street, 4th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-5148 or by phone at 614-466-3180 or 800-282-0515.


  • Funded by United Ways of Greater Cincinnati, Butler County and Warren County
  • Member, National Industries for the Blind
  • Accredited Member, National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services
  • Member, National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind
  • Member, Ohio Association of Radio Reading Services
  • Member, International Association of Audio Information Services
  • An Equal Opportunity Employer and Service Provider
  • An Affirmative Action Employer
  • Member, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber