ACBI’s purpose is to improve the well-being of Indiana’s blind residents by:
- Serving as a representative state organization.
- Elevating social, economic and cultural levels.
- Improving educational and rehabilitation facilities and opportunities.
- Cooperating with public and private institutions and organizations concerned with services for the blind and low vision community.
- Encouraging and assisting blind and low vision persons to develop their abilities.
- And to promote greater understanding of blindness and low vision.
Many people who are blind, have low vision, or sighted, benefit from the following ACBI services:
- Information and referral on all aspects of blindness and low vision.
- Public education and awareness training
- Support to consumer advocates
- Legal resources on matters relating to blindness
- Leadership and legislative training
- Consulting with industry regarding employment of the blind and individuals with low vision
- Governmental monitoring, consultation and advocacy
- Annual state convention
In July of 1961 the American Council of the Blind National Organization was formed. In the fall of 1971, it became apparent that Indiana needed to establish a state affiliate of ACB. Thanks to the Indianapolis Star Fund for the Blind, a mailing was sent to 8,000 legally blind Hoosiers inviting them to attend an in-person meeting at the Atkinson Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.
Current active members, Don and Gerry Koors attended this first meeting. Durward K. McDaniel from ACB National presided over the meeting. At this historical meeting election of four officers and the nine-member board were elected with the first president being William Smith from Fort Wayne Indiana who served for 3 years. He owned an industrial cleaning and supply company. Don Koors, Indianapolis, served as secretary for 3 years. Paul Filpus and John Huffman are the only 2 original board members still living.
When ACBI was organized in 1971 there were 4 officers and nine board members. 3 board members were elected for 3 year terms, 3 board members were elected for 2 year terms and 3 board members were elected for 1 year terms. All the officers were elected for a 1 year term and they could serve for 3 consecutive terms. The state board began to meet quarterly as they continue to do today. After the first meeting, constitution and bylaws were developed and submitted to the national office for approval.
Local chapters began to be developed including South Central Association of the Visually Impaired (SCAVI) in Bedford was established in 1981, North Central in Elkhart/Goshen was established in either 1977 or 1978, Circle City in Indianapolis Lakota in Columbia City and Heartland Association in Bloomington. At present, ACB of Indiana has 3 active local chapters (SCAVI, Circle City, and Heartland).
For over 25 years ACB of Indiana has shared information with its membership via the quarterly newsletter “Focus on ACBI”. This newsletter provides a message from the president, chapter news, convention information, board contact information, and articles as it relates to issues facing the blind and visually impaired. Other resources are the website at acb-indiana.org, the Indiana e-mail list and the ACBI “Information Station” a monthly zoom meeting providing information on various topics.