2020 Annual Report
Adapting to 2020
Since our founding, Vision Loss Resources has been committed to helping people adapt to the unexpected.
Faced with vision loss or impairment, people look to Vision Loss Resources for new ways to live independently and stay connected to the community. When 2020 brought another new reality none of us expected—the COVID-19 pandemic— social distancing and other safety protocols (especially for older adults) presented entirely new obstacles for Minnesotans with vision loss, blindness, or deafblindness.
But as we always have, our community of staff, clients, and supporters mobilized quickly to adapt, connect, and thrive. With stay-at-home orders in place, staff reached out in whatever safe ways we could, making phone calls to more than 1,000 clients to see what they needed, delivering groceries, and referring people to food shelves, health care resources, and more.
Before the pandemic, Vision Loss Resources and DeafBlind Services Minnesota clients thrived during in-home, one-on-one services, and group activities that brought them together to share stories of grief and hope about vision loss. Quickly, we replicated these experiences as best we could by making support groups, recreational activities, and educational classes available on Zoom. Further, with roughly a quarter of clients lacking a smartphone or other Zoom-ready device, we referred them to organizations that distributed free or low-cost devices.
Ultimately, through it all, 93 percent of clients shared that our services helped them remain independent, a nine-percent increase over 2019. Meanwhile, we trained 263 professionals to work with people who have vision loss (six percent more than in 2019), setting them up to hit the ground running as COVID restrictions loosen in 2021.
Like other nonprofits, we also faced financial challenges. Contract Production Services, Vision Loss Resources’ social enterprise and main source of funding, creatively adapted its business during an economic slowdown to continue sustaining our programs. Meanwhile, donors and foundations also stepped up in big ways—thank you all for your overwhelming generosity.
We are so grateful for everyone’s courage, heart, and willingness to, as ever, adapt. Thanks to the entire Vision Loss Resources community—staff, clients, volunteers, and donors—our organization is poised to rise and thrive in 2021 and beyond.
– Paul Erdahl, Board Chair
– Kate Grathwol, President/CEO
Independent Living Skills: Helping people adapt to vision loss through rehabilitation services and skills training.
- 151 individuals with vision loss received their first service and made connections to internal and external resources, part of the Community Services program.
- Clients learned new skills during 12 intensive classes on independent living skills and 25 one-on-one technology training sessions.
- 36 working-age adults completed 7,100 hours of classes at the Rehabilitation Center to adapt to vision loss and prepare to return to school or the workplace.
“Vision Loss Resources changed my life. Once I was introduced to your services, I learned I didn’t need to be isolated.” – Verna, 88, after a technology training via Zoom.
Community-Building and Outreach: Bringing people together for social and emotional support, and teaching the wider community about vision loss.
- Over 140 people participated in 149 social activities and 67 support group sessions, mainly via Zoom.
- 153 volunteers engaged 156 clients in nearly 4,000 hours of reading, shopping, and social activities.
- 263 professionals were trained in techniques for working with people with vision loss.
“This is one happy place in my life: being part of VLR activities. I’m sure that I’m not the only person saying this.” – Sandra
DeafBlind Services Minnesota
Pandemic-era social distancing made 2020 an exceptionally challenging year, as many deafblind individuals use the hand-over-hand touch of tactile American Sign Language. With safety precautions in place, DeafBlind Services Minnesota continued to partner with deafblind Minnesotans to communicate with others, access information, and integrate into their communities.
- 83 deafblind adults and 45 deafblind children and youth received a total of 4,483 services, mainly one-on-one sessions with interveners and service support providers.
“With these services I can be more independent and decide on my own what I want to do.” – Dave
Board & Key Staff
2020 Board of Directors
Paul Erdahl, Global Talent Strategies
Susan Markey, Maslon LLP
Mike Treece, Berger Transfer
Andy Freeman, Retired, Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust
Mary Bear-Dukes, Retired, Allina Health
Member at Large
Julie Anderson, Foundation Fighting Blindness
C. Elston Chambers, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Ellen Conway, Community Representative
John Corneille, Foundation Fighting Blindness
Louise Jacobs, Retired, Allina Health
Chuck Stroud, AdoptAClassroom.org
Leigh Wilson-Mattson, Fundraising Professional
Alana Wright, Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging
Debbie Wygal, Community Representative, Professor emerita, St. Catherine University
Kate Grathwol, Vision Loss Resources, member ex officio
Kate Grathwol, President/CEO
Mauricio Lopez, Controller
Linda Guzman, Director of Manufacturing
John Filek, Director of Programs
2020 Balance Sheet
|Property & Equipment, net||$2,892,832|
|Without Donor Restriction||$12,992,770|
|With Donor Restriction||$189,546|
|Total Net Assets||$13,182,316|
|Total Liabilities and Net Assets||$14,971,421|
* Includes cash, receivables, inventories and investments
2020 Statement of Activity
REVENUE AND SUPPORT
|Contract Production Services Net Sales**||$2,814,283|
|Program Service Revenue||$1,017,482|
|Total Net Revenue & Support||$4,739,930|
|Contract Production Services||$2,005,856|
|DeafBlind Services Minnesota||$622,394|
|Change in Net Assets before taxes||($787,620)|
|Change in Net Assets||($682,620)|
** Vision Loss Resources does business as Contract Production Services, which performs hand-packing and assembly for businesses throughout the Midwest. For more than 50 years, Vision Loss Resources has directed 100% of this for-profit venture’s profits to Vision Loss Resources programs. Learn more at www.cpsmsp.com.
Thank You for Supporting Vision Loss Resources
Adapt, Connect, Thrive.
That’s the motto of Vision Loss Resources. Who would have guessed that in 2020, each one of us would adapt to the unimaginable? A pandemic and ensuing health crisis. A galvanizing call for racial justice. Unemployment and economic instability.
Through it all, people like you made it possible for Minnesotans with vision loss to thrive. You supported new online trainings, support groups, and social activities. You ensured that people with vision loss stayed connected to each other, maintained independent living skills, and adapted to the many changes in their lives with confidence.
On behalf of the 1000+ individuals whose lives were changed by Vision Loss Resources and DeafBlind Services Minnesota in 2020: thank you to the donors, foundations, and organizations who made it possible.
° Board Member * Volunteer
|$5,000 and above
Virgil Adkins Trust
Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation
Vivian E. Bomsta Charitable Trust
Ray Edwards Memorial Trust
Anna M. Heilmaier Charitable Foundation
Willis C. Helm Charitable Trust
The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation
Dr. Edwin and Jenni Ryan
Smith-McCarthy Funds for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Stevens Square Foundation
Enoch R. Sward Charitable Trust
Laurine E. Zimmerman
ASL Interpreting Services
Mary Bear-Dukes & Clarence Dukes °
Ronald & Joyce Beauchane
Ellen Conway °
Christopher & Britt Dougall
Paul & Elizabeth Erdahl °
Andrew W. Freeman °
Louise Jacobs °
Kate Grathwol & Barry Kleider
Steven Leuthold Family Foundation
Maple Grove Lions
Minneapolis Kiwanis Foundation, A Signature Fund of The Minneapolis Fndn
The Nash Foundation
Northeast Minneapolis Lions
Dr. Tyler Phillips, M.D.
The Mendon F. Schutt Family Fund
Otto C. Winzen Charitable Fund
Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
Joan Arbach °
Dr. Herbert L. Cantrill, M.D.
Census 2020 CCC Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation
John Corneille °
Patti A. Ellingson
Katherine Simon Frank
Jamf Nation Global Foundation
Susan Markey °
Mary Claire Potter
Dr. Polly Quiram M.D.
Michael & Christine Seitz
Chuck Stroud °
Richard A. Zgodava Fund
Dr. J. David Brown M.D.
David & Suzanne Moseman *
Adam J. Schmidt
Richard M. Schroeder
Gregory A. Stroh
Michael Treece °
Margaret R. Verlautz
Leigh Wilson-Mattson °
Kenneth & Gigi Abbadie
Julie Anderson °
Vincent I. Barton
Cynthia & Randy Bottelson
C. Elston Chambers °
John & Dorothy Childs
Ann Marie Chrudimsky *
Robert & Cindy Cross
Mary Dahlberg *
Debra Baden Drange
Karen L. Ekdahl
Gary J. Genz
Kathryn & Brian Hammill
Dr. Robert E. Hersman O.D.
Faye F. Johnson
Loretta T. Johnson
Delores Lorene Kaese
Julia Klaas Hally
Hazel E. O’Day
Amy S. Owen
H. Lee Peterson
John & Jennifer Priestley *
John & Judith Reiling
Ken Reinartz *
Claude & Laurel Riedel
Myron & Florence Rusley
Linda G. Stenstrom-Smith
Beverly L. Thompson
John T. Walsh Jr.
Barbara J. Williams
Alana Wright * °
Debbie Wygal * °
Helen L. Adams
Mohamed Abdelfattah Ali
Helen M. Anderson
Joanne M. Benson
Elga O. Berkholtz
Mr. Donald L. Bos
Ms. Mimi Bulman
John & Pam Chandler
Jennifer L. Closner
Delila M. Cotton
Mark Davidson *
Ann Dingman *
Kim D. Fjelstad
Bob & Cheryl Flood
Ronald & Arlene W. Freiling
Connie L. Goneau
Penelope I. Halliday
Susan F. Hawke
Eric F. Holterman
Evelyn Knapp *
Michael Lutsey *
David M. Lyman
Rhoda M. Mead
Martha Pettus Millman
Aurora I. Morafka
Shirley R. Morgan
Janice A. Nelson
Angela C. Novotny *
James H. Oebser
DeeAnn Marie Olsen
Lois K Parker
David Lars Peterson
Russell & Eloise Peterson
Elizabeth M. Ronning
Rick & Barb Rule
Paula Rylander *
Jane E. Schoenecker
Carol A. Schubring
Jeanne L. Seleen
Celia B. Shapland
Jeanne E. Sherburne
Jonathan L. Shoemaker
Kenneth B. Smith
Janet M. Sommer
Paul W. Taylor
William Edmund Thelen
Kathleen M. Trulsen
Virginia Van Dusen
Ruth E. Weber
Western National Insurance Group
Elaine A. Wiener
Barbara J. Williams
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
Hennepin County, Expanded Community Services Grant for COVID-19 Relief
Norma Jean Lane
Phyllis Hilarion Smith
Charlotte and Mary
In 2020, 153 volunteers served people with vision loss to help with reading, shopping, and participating in activities. Undaunted by the pandemic, volunteers found ingenious new ways to keep on serving their clients during state-mandated social distancing. People with vision loss also love to give back: 38 of those volunteers served as “peer mentors,” lending their wisdom and experience to people who are new to vision loss.
“I started volunteering to fill my time with something more meaningful in hopes of helping others. But after the year of volunteering for Emma & Joe, I realize that they have mostly helped me. I am humbled by the people they are, their courage and will for life. They’ve truly done more for me than I have for them.” – Shana, a volunteer
I am grateful for friends, family, and Vision Loss Resources. I can honestly say that without it, I would not be as independent as I am.