BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION

Rating: 4.2 stars   41 reviews

Issues:

Location: 125 N. West St 3rd Floor Alexandria VA 22314 USA

Mission: * To promote the welfare of blinded veterans so that, notwithstanding their disabilities, they may take their rightful place in the community and work with their fellow citizens toward the creation of a peaceful world. * To preserve and strengthen a spirit of fellowship among blinded veterans so that they may give mutual aid and assistance to one another. * To maintain and extend the institution of American freedom and encourage loyalty to the Constitution and laws of the United States and of the states in which they reside.
Target demographics: Blinded or visually impaired veterans and their families
Direct beneficiaries per year: 11,000
Geographic areas served: National
Programs: * Field Service Program * Operation Peer Support * Scholarships
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EIN 53-0214281
1-800-669-7079
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I am a female veteran who served honorably from 1974-77. In 1990 I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. Over the years, my vision has worsened and I have been declared legally blind. Even though we have a wonderful VA Hospital where I live, I didn’t understand that I could utilize their services. I didn’t know that I could submit claim(s) for service connection. Through a friend who works there, I found out that I could use the VA’s low vision clinic. I called and met with the staff. While talking to their social worker, I found out about the BVA. Since then, I have contacted the BVA office a number of times and have come away Very pleased. My calls & emails have always been returned promptly and respectfully. It is obvious that the staff cares and is willing to help in any way. I have no doubt that I will stay in touch with this organization who do so much for those of us who didn’t know we had a voice.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

With advice from the BVA, I feel more confident that I will win my claim for service connection to my vision loss.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The hours of operation perhaps. I have a day job and sometimes the 2 hr difference is hard to fit in. In defense of the office though, my calls have always been returned promptly the following day.

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I'm a blinded/visually impaired Navy Corpsman who was injured in 2005 At Haditha Iraq. BVA was given my name and contacted me. Since then I've testified for BVA at 2 seperate Senate Hearings. This group has been a life saver to me.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've been to National Conventions.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase their budget.

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I am a soldier who return from Iraq, blinded and afraid of the hopeless life that I thought only existed for a blind person.
Two years after my injury I got a phone call that changed my life. The BVA had found me and wanted to invite me to a program that gathered new blinded vets together with older blinded vets.
At no cost I flew from the seclusion of the Appalachian mountains to a convention in New Mexico where I met others like me, learned about financial and educational benefits, and about access technology!
I have since moved to California where I am studying Computer Science so that I can help contribute to the access technology that I discovered there!

Thehorrible review below disturbed me so I have performed some research.
The numbers that the annonomous reviewer posted below are no where to be found in the 990 !
http://www.bva.org/form990.pdf

This organization is an organization of Blinded Veterans helping other Blinded Veterans for over 65 years. It is not likely that such numbers could exist when a group of voting board members, all blinded vets, cycles annually and votes on such matters.
In addition to other programs, the BVA payes, at the moment, 8 Blinded Veterans to provide services for Blinded Veterans in their region. The pay of one of these employees alone dramatically contradicts "abcdef's" suggestion that only $15,000 goes to service programs.
This organization has provided me inspiration, guidance, friends, and so much more!


I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

A blind service representative paid by the BVA evaluated the financial compensation that I was recieving from the VA and found that I qualified for nearly double the amount that I was recieving!!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find ways to spend more on advertising and find ways to embrace leading technologies.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Check out this group's IRS form 990: With over four million dollars in contributions, they spent less that $15,000 on program services. If you want to help our blinded veterans, find a reputable charity. This organization is a scam

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

nowhere--what can you do with $15K

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Shut it down, arrest all the employees, and return the contributions to the donors.

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

What is unique about this organization?

One of the lowest benefit-to-contribution ratios of any 501(c)(3) I've investigated.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm afraid your information is not accurate. If you check out our IRS 990, available on our website, BVA.org, or http://www2.guidestar.org/ReportOrganization.aspx?ein=53-0214281 you will find that we spent $2,836,869.00 on program expenses for FY 2010. Our smallest program, Kathern F Gruber Scholarships for the spouses and depended children of blinded veterans, did spend around $15,000 last year in education grants to individuals. We also spent $1,125,817 on our Field Service Program, and $1,306,477 on Public Education and Communications, our two largest programs. BVA is chartered by Congress to advocate for America's blinded veterans; we have been dedicated to our mission for over 65 years, and we take any accusation of malfeasance very seriously. I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me where you found this inaccurate information, so that I can correct it at the source. Thank you very much! Sincerely, Kay Starr BVA Development Department

Rating: 4 stars  

I first became aware of Blinded Veterans Association and its goals through a friend who works there. She explained to me the gap in official veterans' benefits that BVA works hard to fill, as well as the sudden increase in blinded veterans.
Through my friend, I have found an organization that I feel comfortable donating to and volunteering for. Unlike so many non-profit organizations based in DC, BVA works on an extremely limited internal budget, because they use most of their donations for actually helping our veterans.
I've met several of the employees of BVA, and each one has a compassionate heart dedicated to the mission of the BVA, and so I encourage my friends and family to donate and volunteer with this group.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

at the Phoenix annual convention, and at the home office in Washington, DC.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would create a volunteer program that provides a local point-of-contact on as many military bases as possible.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

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Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I requested information due to the fact that I am a legally blind veteran discharged under Honorable conditions who is just about homeless. I requested information about obtaining assistance but received no answer, now winter is coming and there's an excellent possibility that I may have to survive in the elements. Two thumbs down. I feel as if I have no one watching my back like I did with others when I was active military. Thanks for nothing guys....William

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Nothing positive.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have some integrity and do what you claim to do.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unsure

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

How did you learn about this organization?

Blank.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Was this review helpful? 

I'm very sorry you had a negative experience. BVA is committed to helping blinded veterans in need, and we apologize that you did not receive the level of service you expected from us. If you go to our website, http://bva.org/fsp.html, you will find the contact information for our Field Service Officer in your region, who can assist you. Here are some additional resources available to veterans in need that you may find helpful: http://www1.va.gov/homeless/ http://www.nchv.org/wheretogo.cfm http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/topics/veteran_information Sincerely, Kay Starr BVA Development Department

Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I have volunteered at a Veterans' Hospital and I know about the wonderful work being done by th Blinded Veterans' Association. Members visit veterans, participate in their recovery from trauma and illnesses; and, they help other veterans adjust to a variety of disabilities. They provid emotional support fo their fellow veterans and their families. Blinded Veterans have frquently exhibited courage in combat; but, they also exhibit courage in their adjustmnts to the loss of their sight. They model good adjustment to critical life events. The National Organization is instrumental in educating Legislative and Executive Branches of government abut issues relating to the rehabilitation of visually impaired veterans. In the process, the organization helps to educate the entire country; maybe even the world. This is a great oganization!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Rehabilitation from injuries suffered in combat in Vietnam.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Individual members are inspirational. They have faced and overcome great obstacles; and, they want to help others do the same.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The Staff and Volunteers demonstrate a commiotment to fulfilling the BVA Motto: "Blinded Veterans Helping Other Blinded Veterans."

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

It copuld help more current veterans of existing conflicts. It could also educate more veterans of earlier wars.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I have been a member of BVA for approximately 15 years, seerving as both an assistant director and a regional director. During this time the BVA did a great deal for me, espctilly assisting me to become a student at a Blind Rehabilitation Center for training. This training really greatly helped me overcome the immediate problem of "lost confidence." The computer courses were invaluable as was the use of the white cane. Also the items I was given to assist me were greatly appreciated. But, I think, most important was the comradeship of fellow veterans who were in the same situation and learning from their life experiences. I have made many good friends by attending the meetings and conventions. Our motto is "Blinded Veterans Helping Blinded Veterans" and this is a real true fact as I have found out. I do my best to reciprocate when ever possible. John S. Thomas Assistant Director Southwest Florida Regiional Group Blinded Veterans Associaiton

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

trying to help other veterans gain access to blind rehab centers and obtaining items to help them adapt to their blindness.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting other veterans who are also sight impaired and who try to pass along tips to help me.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

My name is Cristela Torres, member and volunteer of the Puerto Rico Regional Group of the Blinded Veterans Association. I have been legally blind for the past 18 years and through the Field Service Program and a dedicated, loyal and wonderful Officer, I was able to receive Compensation, service-connected -100%. I will be forever grateful to this Organization which gives services and support to all our Blinded or Visually impaired Veterans.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Their excellent and dedicated Staff, heir National Conventions and their continued services and support to our Blinded and visually impaired veterans.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I am a volunteer who for the past two years has experienced in person how BVA has helped and assisted many Veterans who are blind or visually impaired here in Puerto Rico, Veterans Hospital. I consider this organization to be of great help and support for our veterans. I support this organization 100% and I am only 18 years old. This experienced as a volunteer has change my life completely. Thank you BVA.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

person and always will have it in my heart.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the compassion and knowledge.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very trained.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

personally touch more lives.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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