Our Story

1929 – A group of concerned and dedicated citizens in Utica, N.Y. recognized a need in the community and rose to a noble challenge: to help people who were blind or visually impaired. Aspiring to a greater good, they founded the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) 501 (c) (3). Their mission then was to assist people who are blind or visually impaired to achieve their highest levels of independence.

1931 – Helen McBride was hired as the agency’s first executive director.

1939 – The Wagner-O’Day bill was signed and the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) was formed. At the end, CABVI hired six employees to work in their industries program.

1945 – CABVI purchased its building at 301 Court Street in Utica. With a purchase price of $7,500 and a down payment of $3,000, the mortgage and expenses equaled $56 per month.

1954 – At their annual meeting, figures from the year were presented. They served 16 communities with 1,196 home visits, which resulted in 64 new cases of individuals who were legally blind that needed services.

1969 – Don LoGuidice becomes the new president and CEO. Helen McBride retires after 38 years of service at CABVI.

1972 – NIB recognizes CABVI for its continued success for government sales and they are now under the umbrella of NIB.

1978 – June 21 is proclaimed CABVI Day in the City of Utica.

1979 – General Electric donates its building on Kent Street to the agency, which is now their headquarters.

1985 – CABVI wins the NYS pencil contract and it allows them to hire an additional 12 individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

1986 – Vehicles for Vision is introduced as a fundraising effort for the agency.

1989 – After 60 years, the words “and visually impaired” are added to the name.

1995 – A federal contract allows several individuals who are blind or visually impaired to operate a telecommunications center at the S.S. Stratton Veterans Administration Medical Center in Albany, NY.

1997 – CABVI purchases a 15,000 square foot building on Bleecker Street, later named CABVI’s Kenneth C. Thayer Production Facility.

2000 – CABVI’s first Base Supply Center (BSC) opens its doors, named Dolphin Express in New London, CT.

2003 – The second BSC opens its doors, named Galaxy Express in Chicopee, MA.

2004 – They win the TSA glove contract, which is the largest contract in the agency’s history.

2005 – The third BSC opens its doors, named Shipyard Express in Kittery, ME. The same year, CABVI purchases a 67,000 square foot building on Dwyer Ave for additional warehouse space.

2008 – After 39 years, Don LoGuidice retires and Rudy D’Amico becomes president and CEO. Later that year, the fourth BSC opens its doors, named Island Express in Newport, RI.

2010 – Total employment reaches 200 people after securing a federal contract worth $653,000 for a contact center.

2013 – CABVI holds its first Camp Abilities.

2014 – The fifth BSC opens its doors, named Tobyhanna Office Express in Tobyhanna, PA.

2015 – CABVI makes its debut in Syracuse by renting space to employ eight people, six of whom were legally blind.

2018 – CABVI breaks ground on a new 23,000 square foot building for rehabilitation services, now named the Vision Health and Wellness Center. That same year, they move into a brand new 66,000 square foot facility and employs a total of 24 individuals, most of whom are blind or visually impaired.

2019 – Rudy D’Amico retires and Edward Welsh is announced as the president and CEO.