2019 Annual Report

A Letter from our Board Chair and our President/CEO

Adapt · Connect · Thrive.

That’s our new tagline, and 2019 exemplified it. Our staff, leaders, and volunteers served a growing number of adults living with vision loss by teaching them the adaptive skills they need to live independently and “age in place,” and by providing the social-emotional supports that help in reducing the risk of isolation. All along the way, we listen: clients tell us what they need in order to thrive, and we create new offerings to meet their needs.

We must listen to more voices in order to better serve the whole community of people with vision loss. One major focus of our work last year, and going forward, is outreach to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. We are grateful to our partners at organizations including the Indian Health Board, Minneapolis American Indian Center, Phillips Community Center, St. Mary’s Health Clinics, the Mexican Consulate, and El Centro. With their help in 2019, we provided one-to-one services to over 160 BIPOC, a 63% increase over 2018. In 2020, we seek to continue our outreach so that our client base better reflects the population of the metro area communities that we serve.

During our outreach as well as staff training on cultural competence, we have come to learn that there has been a history of organizations sweeping in, gathering the data they need, and failing to invest in a community. It takes time to establish trust. Vision Loss Resources will continue to invest resources into outreach to the BIPOC communities.

We are grateful to you, and to our supporters listed below, for making this vital work possible.

– Joan Arbach, Board Chair
– Kate Grathwol, Ph.D., President/CEO

Program Accomplishments

Independent Living Skills: We help people adapt to blindness or vision impairment through rehabilitation services and skills training.

  • 336 people received in-home low vision assessments.
  • We hosted 22 intensive classes on independent living skills and 44 one-on-one technology training sessions.
  • 57 working-age adults attended 10,495 hours of vision rehabilitation classes to adapt to vision loss and prepare to return to school or the workplace. Subjects included safe travel skills, technology, Braille, and tasks of daily living.

Community-Building and Outreach: We brought people with vision loss together for social and emotional support, and we taught the wider community about vision loss.

  • We hosted 258 support groups and 356 social activities
  • 278 volunteers engaged clients in reading, shopping, and social activities.
  • Over 1,600 seniors and caregivers learned the basics of living with vision loss through our informational presentations (a 96% increase over 2018).
  • 278 professionals were trained in techniques for working with people with vision loss (a 60% increase over 2018).

DeafBlind Services Minnesota provides statewide one-to-one support services and independent living training to deafblind individuals of all ages, including support service providers for adults and interveners for children.

  • 82 deafblind adults received over 10,000 hours of direct services to help them communicate with others and access information.
  • 52 deafblind children and youth received over 5,000 hours of direct service from interveners to learn communication strategies and integrate into their community.

Board & Key Staff

2019 Board of Directors

Joan Arbach, Retired, Phillips Eye Institute
Board Chair

Paul Erdahl, Global Talent Strategies
Vice Chair

Andy Freeman, Retired, Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust

Mike Treece, Berger Transfer

Julie Anderson, Foundation Fighting Blindness

Ron Beauchane, Retired CPA; Community Representative

Mary Bear-Dukes, Retired, Allina Health

Dr. Herbert Cantrill, M.D., VitreoRetinal Surgery

Ellen Conway, Community Representative

John Corneille, Foundation Fighting Blindness

Kate Gillette, Avison Young

Dr. Robert Hersman, O.D., Hopkins Eye Clinic

Louise Jacobs, Retired, Allina Health

Susan Markey, Maslon LLP

John Priestley, Retired, Moneygram; Community Representative

Chuck Stroud, Minnesota Autism Center

Leigh Wilson-Mattson, Fundraising Professional

Debbie Wygal, Community Representative, Professor emerita, St. Catherine University

Key Staff

Kate Grathwol, Ph.D., President/CEO

Mauricio Lopez, Controller

Linda Guzman, Director of Manufacturing

John Filek, Director of Programs

Volunteer Spotlight

Client with volunteer and guide dog
A client, her guide dog, and a volunteer.

In 2019, 278 volunteers served people with vision loss, often on biweekly or monthly schedules, to help with reading, shopping, and participating in activities. We’re especially proud to note that our clients love to give back: 40 volunteers were people with vision loss who assisted with activities and served as “peer mentors,” helping new clients with their vision loss journey.

My favorite thing about volunteering at Vision Loss Resources is knowing I am helping someone in a real way, and also getting to know them on a personal level and building a friendship.
– Melissa, a volunteer


Individual Donors

Our donors are from all walks of life. Many of them are people who use our services. They might use big large-print checks, writing with a heavy black marker. Their penmanship can be a little hard to read, but I’ve noticed that many of them write that they wanted to give because our services helped them changed their lives. They can still do it all since they learned adaptive skills. They feel less alone now that they’ve met others going through the same things.

Contract Production Services

Vision Loss Resources does business as Contract Production Services, which performs hand-packing and assembly for businesses throughout the Midwest. It is a social enterprise, with 100% of profits directed to Vision Loss Resources programs.

State Partners

  • Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, State Services for the Blind
  • Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Division
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services, “Live Well at Home” Grant Program

Foundation Partners

Anna M. Heilmaier Charitable Foundation: $15,000
Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation: $10,000
Minneapolis Kiwanis Foundation: $3,500
Otto Bremer Trust: $20,000
Smith-McCarthy Funds for the Blind and Visually Impaired: $10,000
Steven Leuthold Family Foundation: $4,000
Stevens Square Foundation: $25,000
The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation: $10,000
Willis C. Helm Charitable Trust: $5,000


Current Assets


Other Assets


Property & Equipment, net        


Total Assets


Current Liabilities


Without Donor Restriction


With Donor Restriction           


Total Net Assets


Total Liabilities and Net Assets


* Includes cash, receivables, inventories and investments


Contract Production Services (CPS) Net Sales**


Contributions 679,917
Program Service Revenue 1,427,897
Investments 513,324
Miscellaneous Revenue 36,238
Total Net Revenue & Support $4,721,339



Contract Production Services


DeafBlind Services Minnesota 942,846
Rehabilitation Services 713,136
Community Services 653,778
Management 369,540
Fundraising 92,113
Total Expenses 4,891,284
Change in Net Assets before taxes ($169,945)
Taxes 5,512
Change in Net Assets ($175,457)


**Vision Loss Resources does business as Contract Production Services. For more than 50 years, we have directed 100 percent of this for-profit venture’s revenues to Vision Loss Resources programs.

Vision Loss Resources helped me realize I can still do many things, just in a different way. The key is to be confident in what I can do.

Raye, a graduate of Vision Loss Resources' Adjustment to Blindness Training Program