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About My Blind Spot

Mission Statement

To inspire accessibility for people of ALL abilities.

Vision Statement

To provide outreach, advocacy, education and services by promoting an inclusive culture and accessible digital infrastructure to ensure equal access to employment, education, recreation, and independent living opportunities for people with disabilities.

Core Values

My Blind Spot believes that all individuals are entitled to acceptance, encouragement, and respect – as well as freedom from discrimination, labeling, and stereotyping, regardless of their challenges in life. We believe that every person, at every age and level of ability, has the potential for growth. We believe that access to the right tools, including technologies, promotes ability and restores infinite possibilities.

Goals

Outreach

Promote awareness among leaders in business, education, and government about the critical importance of making their digital content, software, and technologies accessible and usable to the disability community.

Advocacy

Expand employment and business entrepreneurship opportunities for people who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled. Foster independence and full societal participation for people with disabilities by eliminating technical, physical, and perceptual barriers to inclusion.

Education

Expand understanding of the business advantages to accessible infrastructures for customers and employees. Educate organizations on the process for integrating accessibility to enhance customer experiences, talent acquisition, productivity, and overall morale.

Services

Provide customized roadmaps for organizations to integrate accessibility into their culture, processes and technical infrastructures. Deliver accessibility services as a way to advance organizational success while providing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Our History

Albert Rizzi was Executive Director of a thriving preschool and afterschool program in the South Bronx. He had made a successful career change from marketing to early childhood education. Now his sights were set on starting a charter school where he would continue working on behalf of the underserved, under-resourced children and families to whom he had dedicated his life.

An unexpected development stopped this plan in its tracks. Albert was hospitalized, suffering from a dangerous strain of fungal meningitis that attacked his optic nerve. In January 2006, he woke up completely blind.

Faced with this new way of seeing, Albert drew on the qualities he had brought to his work in education—persistence, optimism, energy, drive, and an irrepressible urge to reach out and bring others into a world of hope and opportunity. Coming back from death’s door, he made remarkable progress at breakneck speed.

Nevertheless, being blind and learning to operate in the sighted world often was challenging, frustrating, and disturbing. Particularly distressing was the discomfort that other people seemed to feel in his presence. He became increasingly committed to dispelling fears and misconceptions about blindness and building awareness that loss of sight brings the opportunity to experience the world in new and different ways and to call upon the best in oneself and others.

Albert also became acutely aware of the limitations imposed upon him and his peers from the disability community due to the failure of governments and organizations to use current and cutting edge technologies, ignoring legislation designed to ensure that computer-based communication and information systems are accessible to people who are blind or print disabled. Despite the existence of ever-advancing technologies, Albert daily and repeatedly encountered, and continues to encounter, websites, mobile apps, software programs and digital media that continue to be "disabled" to people who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability.

My Blind Spot is becoming a leader in the global quest to ensure that people with disabilities can take their place alongside their nondisabled peers as valued, productive, contributing citizens.

Albert has dedicated himself to shifting perspectives nationally. He talks vehemently and repeatedly, to anyone who is willing to listen. He has touched, and continues to touch, the lives of thousands of people of all ages through his national outreach. He is often seen on local, national, and international media, spreading his message of hope and a vision of a world that sees the disability community as capable, contributing participants in all aspects of society.

To advance his goals, Albert founded My Blind Spot, a nonprofit organization dedicated to accessibility, education, and advocacy. His entrepreneurial abilities and outgoing disposition and positive outlook helped him garner support and assemble a team notable for its diversity and commitment. An educational program was developed and a website established. My Blind Spot began working with governmental agencies, organizations, and schools to achieve the high degree of accessibility that is possible through technology and mandated by law, yet all too seldom realized in practice.

Some recent major initiatives include the following.

  • My Blind Spot partnered with Intuit, Inc. to make QuickBooks, Intuit's widely used accounting software, accessible to people who are blind or print disabled for the first time. For well over 20 years, people who are blind and print disabled wanted access to the premier accounting program, QuickBooks, equal to that enjoyed by their nondisabled peers. Now, thanks to the tireless efforts of My Blind Spot, people of all abilities can use QuickBooks to manage the finances of their own small businesses or to compete equally for careers in financial management.
  • My Blind Spot has partnered with agencies and national organizations providing accessibility governance, incorporating WCAG.2 standards and compliance with federal regulations. Presently, My Blind Spot has worked with state and local agencies to introduce and maintain compliant websites and digital offerings as required by law. In addition to working with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife on the west coast, My Blind Spot has worked with the County of Suffolk in New York and guided the County Legislature in crafting IR 1300 which required the county's adherence to state and federal regulations governing virtual access. Additionally My Blind Spot worked with the county to deliver its very first accessible website.
  • Cablevision, a leading cable and communications provider, has partnered with My Blind Spot to make their website, mobile apps and product offerings accessible and will position them to provide accessible programming for consumers of all abilities. My Blind Spot has also partnered with Morgan Stanley, a global investment giant, to ensure the services provided through its website and mobile apps can be used by people who are blind and print disabled. Additionally, My Blind Spot is a founding member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, working alongside renowned global giants like IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Disney, Barclay's Bank and many other leaders in the accessibility industry.

Our focus on accessibility does not stop with "just" developing employment opportunities, or working with governmental agencies, or introducing organizations to programmatic solutions around virtual access, or partnering with organizations to ensure that people can independently manage their finances. My Blind Spot considers educating and advocating for virtual accessibility as a nonnegotiable, and works tirelessly to infuse accessibility into the DNA and corporate culture of our clients. We foster appreciation for the ability of people who are blind and print disabled while raising the bar of expectation and opportunity.

Senior Staff

Albert Rizzi and his first guide dog, Doxy

Albert J. Rizzi

Founder of My Blind Spot

Albert J. Rizzi received his B.A. from Manhattanville College and has dual M.S. degrees from St. John’s University in education—one in early childhood and the other in administration and supervision. He was a New York City Teaching Fellow and began his career in education as a kindergarten teacher. He became the Executive Director of MARC After-School and Pre-K Program located in the South Bronx, providing direct services to 250 students and their families. In 2006, Albert unexpectedly and completely lost his sight. He became an activist and advocate for the blind and visually impaired, providing education, building awareness, and working to achieve the development and dissemination of assistive technologies.

Anthony Buonaspina

Chief Technology Officer

Anthony holds dual degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He has over 30 years experience in hardware design and software programming. He has worked as a Digital Electrical Engineer on several commercial and government projects specializing in miniaturization of electronic equipment. Anthony specializes in computer and cloud networking and has collaborated with clients and third parties on creating custom software designs and is a web presence and accessibility expert.

In 1995 he founded GRQ Innovations, Inc. a computer consulting firm that addresses the business computing and software needs of corporations across the country. Anthony is also an accessibility expert and guides our clients in compliance and best practices for federal and international standards and protocols in the development and designing of accessible digital offerings, websites, mobile apps and work environments. He is proficient in designing and developing custom made computer systems and software, which lends itself to working on custom designed legacy programs and platforms needing intensive remediation's and corrections in order to be compliant and conformant with current standards and protocols. Anthony manages The MBS team of accessibility professionals, some of whom are members of the blind and print disabled community.

Kevin Carbone

Senior Accessibility Specialist

Kevin received his B.S from Farmingdale State University in computer programming and information technology. He specializes in computer and cloud networking as well as custom software design and web development. He is also a Cisco Certified Network Associate. Kevin has been working on accessibility standards and remediation projects and is an expert in accessibility and usability testing including digital offerings, mobile apps and websites.

Brian Wentz

Research Advisor

Brian is the chair and an associate professor in the Accounting and Management Information Systems Department at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and he is frequently involved with applied research that focuses on the implications that Web accessibility and usability can have on business, education, employment, public policy, and societal inclusion. For more than 13 years, he has been involved in a variety of projects related to Web accessibility and usability for people with disabilities. Dr. Wentz has published over 25 refereed articles in journals, books, and conference proceedings, and lends his support to the mission and vison of My Blind Spot.

Board and Staff

Our Board

  • James Brock

    CEO and Co-Founder, Blue World, Inc, a privately held data collection and marketing company

  • Thomas G. Fread

    Vice President and financial advisor, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

  • James Hartman

    retired Senior Vice President, HSBC Bank

  • Diana Kamp

    Business manager in the veterinary industry and fundraising consultant.

  • Ted Locke

    CFO and Co-Founder, Blue World, Inc, a privately held data collection and marketing company

  • Catherine Scorsese

    Entertainment and film industry consultant

Our Staff

  • Albert J Rizzi

    Founder and CEO

  • Anthony Buonaspina

    Chief Technology Officer

  • Tanner Gers

    Executive Director

  • Mary Finn

    Executive Assistant

  • Richard P. Kelly

    Educational Projects Coordinator

  • Debra Kelly

    Director of Project Management

  • Fred Quick

    Director of Training

  • Kevin Carbone

    Senior Accessibility Specialist

  • Michael Buonaspina

    Solutions Architect

  • John Martyn

    Programmer/Scripter

  • Jonathan Buonaspina

    Accessibility Tester

  • James M. Hartman

    Communications and Marketing

  • Arnie Abrams

    Grants and Development

  • Kevin Frankeberger

    Communications Manager

  • Brian Wentz

    Research Advisor

  • George Martinez

    Director, Accounting

  • Elizabeth Pepiot

    Accounts Manager

  • Vaughn

    Top Dawg

  • Doxology "Doxy"

    Dawg of Counsel

Our Strategic Partners

My Blind Spot would not be where it is today if it were not for the support, encouragement, and hard work of our donors and organizations with whom we have professional affiliations. We are grateful to those whose belief and commitment helped us get started and keep us going.

Blue World, Inc.

90 Broad Street
New York, New York, 10004
www.blueworldinc.com

Blue World (New York), Inc., is a service company focusing on data collection and analysis, fulfillment, marketing services, and software application development. Blue World services are specialized for the needs of the food service and beverage industries. It has an impressive client base that does business in a wide range of food, beverage and equipment markets. Blue World has experienced astounding growth by focusing on the latest technology and exemplary service to its customers.

The Chatlos Foundation, Inc.

P. O. Box 915048
Longwood, FL 32791-5048
www.chatlos.org

The Chatlos Foundation is a private, philanthropic foundation that funds nonprofit organizations in the USA and around the globe and does not solicit or accept donations from the general public. It was founded in 1953 by William Chatlos (1889-1977), a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The Washington State Association of Emblem Clubs

Kathie Robinson
11436 SE 208th St. Sp #4
Kent, WA 98031-1683
robinsoncampers@comcast.net

The Emblem Club is a national organization affiliated with the Elks Clubs. There are over 300 clubs in the United States. Through their many fund raising activities, they donate to: Tall Elks (Elks Therapy Program), Washington State Association of Emblem Club’s Eye Care, DARE, American Cancer Society, Clark College Literacy and to local charities voted on by the members.

Reader's Digest Partners for Sight Foundation

100 South Bedford Road, Suite 340
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
www.partnersforsight.org

Partners for Sight is dedicated to increasing the self-reliance and dignity of blind and visually impaired persons. We believe these individuals should have the tools and resources necessary to lead independent, productive lives. Through our support of non-profit organizations that share this philosophy, we are making the world easier to navigate for thousands of people, every day.

Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation (IFFF)

Intuit, Inc.
2632 Marine Way
Mountain View, CA 94043
www.intuitempowers.com

The IFFF is dedicated to programs and projects that promote financial literacy and independence among lower income individuals, families, entrepreneurs and small businesses. IFFF donates Intuit software and resources to empower people, and the organizations that serve them, so they can achieve better money outcomes.

Adaptive Technology Services

629 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
www.adaptivetec.com

From helping clients select the best adaptive technology solutions to customizing training to fit clients' needs and preferences, Adaptive Technology Services serves individuals who depend upon the use of adaptive technology to achieve professional and personal goals. Their diverse staff provides evaluations, set-ups, scripting and configuration, technology training, employment workshops, technical support, worksite accommodations: technical support, worksite accommodation, and Section 508 compliance testing throughout the US and Canada. The company's training and technical staff have Federal security clearance with Social Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service.

Sterling Adaptive

62 Brookwood Avenue, Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA, 95404
www.sterlingadaptive.com

Sterling Adaptive supplies technologically advanced equipment and software to serve those who are blind or visually impaired and others with disabilities. The company offers a full range of computer hardware and software, peripherals, and assistive technology products and can support these products with free demonstrations, installations, full hardware and software troubleshooting, and ongoing product training. Sterling Adaptive works with private individuals, non-profit agencies, private organizations, educational establishments, and commercial enterprises.

The International Association of Accessibility Professionals

2025 W Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
www.accessibilityassociation.org

The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) is a membership-based organization for individuals and organizations that are focused on accessibility or are in the process of building their accessibility skills and strategies. The objective of this association is to help accessibility professionals develop and advance their careers and to help organizations integrate accessibility into their products and infrastructure. The IAAP will provide a place for accessibility professionals around the world to gather, share experiences and enrich their knowledge of accessibility.

Freedom Scientific

11800 31st Court North St.
St. Petersburgh, FL. 33716
www.freedomscientific.com

Freedom Scientific develops the highest quality video magnifiers, braille displays, screen magnification software, and the #1 screen reader, JAWS® for Windows. For over 20 years, their products have provided access to print and computers for people with blindness, low vision, or learning disabilities.

WebABLE TV

4206 F Technology
CourtChatilly, VA 20151
www.WebABLE.TV

WebABLE TV is an Internet TV Channel on the TV Worldwide Network (www.TVWorldwide.com) dedicated to providing accessible live and on-demand interactive coverage of the issues, activities and events important to the community of people with disabilities. Produced in cooperation with WebABLE TV charter sponsor, The Paciello Group, (www.PacielloGroup.com), our staff of industry professionals with extensive experience in the production of accessible Internet TV programming for the disability community, seeks to inform, educate and engage audiences to generate feedback and build intelligent consensus for the advancement of all people with disabilities. WebABLE TV values input from our audiences on content and programming suggestions at info@tvworldwide.com.

New York State Commission for the Blind

52 Washington Street
Rennselaer, NY 12144
www.ocfs.ny.gov/main/cb/

The mission of the New York State Commission for the Blind is to enhance employability, to maximize independence and to assist in the development of the capacities and strengths of people who are legally blind.

Ai Squared

130 Taconic Business Park Road
Manchester Center, VT 05255
www.aisquared.com

Ai Squared is the global leader in Assistive Technology since 1987. Ai Squared produces ZoomText, the world's best-selling computer screen magnification and reading software. Ai Squared products also include sitecues SaaS, which makes websites easier to see, hear, use and enjoy. Ai Squared products and services are sold in 40+ countries, and localized in 23 languages.

GRQInnovationsInc

175 West Main St. Suite 3
Babylon, NY 11702
www.grq.net

GRQ Innovations Inc. is an accessibility firm specializing in making corporations, government agencies and other organizations "Disability Smart" by working with them to make all their digital offerings and work environments accessible to ALL. Accessibility is not just our mission, but has been our passion. GRQ has been providing technology and software programming support and consultation for over 20 years. Throughout the years we've retained every client due to our professional support and exceptional customer service.

The Viscardi Center

201 I.V. Willets Road
Albertson, NY 11507
www.viscardicenter.org

Founded by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who served as disability advisor to eight U.S. Presidents and became one of the world's leading advocates, The Viscardi Center educates, employs and empowers people with disabilities. It provides Pre-K through High School education (age 3 to 21), school-to-work youth transition services, vocational training, career counseling and employment placement, assistive technology, and adapted driver education to children, adolescents and adults with a wide variety of disabilities. The Center also assists businesses in diversifying their workforces and developing and advancing disability inclusive cultures in their workplaces.

Disability Awareness Training

74 Fleetwood Terrace
Williamsville, N.Y. 144221
www.disabilityawarenesstraining.com

More than just training, Disability Awareness Training provides consultation, advocacy support, employment initiative guidance, online programs, and other services to help increase awareness of disability issues and advance related goals.

I Can do That Productions, Inc.

27 West 20th Street, Suite 1005
New York, NY 10011
icandothat.com

I Can Do That Productions works one-on-one with its clients to provide clean, crisp design on a quick turn-around. ICDT offers multi-faceted services ranging from ­creating eye-catching ads for The New York Times, small & efficient websites.

Dancing Dots

1754 Quarry Lane
P.O. Box 927
Valley Forge, PA 19482-092
www.dancingdots.com

Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology, L.P., was founded in 1992 by blind musician and programmer Bill McCann to develop and adapt high-tech tools for creative people with blindness and other disabilities. In 1997 Dancing Dots released its first product, the GOODFEEL® Braille Music Translator.
The company is an authorized distributor for a wide range of assistive technology and music products. It has customers throughout the U.S. and in over forty other countries. Dancing Dots received the U.S. Small Business Administration's Tibbetts Award for innovation and excellence in high technology. In 1999, Dancing Dots was invited to the White House to demonstrate its technology to the President and Vice President. McCann has been interviewed by the BBC World Service, the Associated Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer and has authored numerous articles about his work.

Our Donors

My Blind Spot is grateful to the individuals and organizations whose generous support encourages and sustains us.

We especially thank the following donors:

Blue World, Inc.

90 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
www.blueworldinc.com

Mr. William Chatlos

Chatlos Foundation, Inc.
P. O. Box 915048
Longwood, FL 32791-5048
www.chatlos.org

The Washington State Association of Emblem Clubs

11436 SE 208th St. Sp #4
Kent, WA 98031-1683
Contact WSAEC via email

Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation

Intuit, Inc.
2632 Marine Way
Mountain View, CA 94043
www.intuitempowers.com

Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation

100 South Bedford Road, Suite 340
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
www.partnersforsight.org

MBS Financial Information

My Blind Spot is a 501c (3) nonprofit organization. Our tax identification number is 27-0223913.

We are funded by fees for digital accessibility services and speaking engagements, and by generous contributions from friends and supporters who support our mission and value the work we do.

We direct 80 percent of every charitable dollar we receive into programs and services that support people with disabilities, with a focus on those who are blind, visually impaired, and print disabled.

The remaining 20 percent allows us to administer our programs and services, maintain our accessible website, participate in social media outlets, attend conferences and conventions, and develop our base of support from organizational and individual donors.

At My Blind Spot, we believe that access to the right tools promotes ability and restores infinite possibilities.