The Lions Center for the Blind (LCB), a nonprofit organization with offices in Oakland and Fairfield, CA, has announced that it will cease operations effective August 31, 2016, unless significant additional funding is received prior to that date.
The 74-year-old service organization will have to close its doors due to a lack of funding unless new sources of funding are obtained. Reasons for the need are inadequate support from the state’s Department of Rehabilitation, State Department requirements that all services must be delivered by staff with master’s degrees and certified instructors, and stipulations that government funds cover only direct client services.
CEO Michelle Taylor Lagunas says, “The absence of LCB’s unique services would be a great loss to the Bay Area, particularly the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano, which would have no local community agency providing essential services like ours to blind and visually impaired residents. . . We serve over 500 clients annually. Ninety-two percent are low income, and employment for blind people hovers at an abysmal 38%. Our services make a real difference. Since 2010, we have placed numerous blind and visually impaired clients in jobs, and have provided an array of other services to ensure that clients can live full and satisfying lives.”
Confronted with this difficult reality, the LCB Board of Directors voted at its June 20, 2016 meeting to stop providing services on August 31, pending receipt of any significant additional funding. The LCB welcomes any suggestions for sources of funding that can allow them to stay open.
More information about Lions Center for the Blind can be found at their website, www.lbcenter.org. To contact the Center by phone, call (510) 450-1580.