As the Founder and President of the Global Campaign Against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) I can state without hesitation that BVA is perhaps the finest organization we've worked with in support of veterans and their families.
BVA's unfaltering support to our veterans, active duty and their families has been manifest in their unqualified support not only whenever we needed it, but when others called for assistance. This extends beyond the military to their help in facilitating critical information sharing of blast trauma related data and research with the private sector and first responders especially in the make of the Boston Marathon attack.
At every opportunity and without hesitation on continually point to BVA as THE benchmark for what a a Veterans Service Organization should be and how it should operate. They literally set the standard.
As a recently retired representative of the American Optometric Association (AOA), the professional society representing doctors of optometry in both the private sector and those practicing in the federal sector (military, VA PHS), I would like to voice my opinion of the Blinded Veterans Association. I have had a long-standing working relationship with BVA officials that goes back for decades and over that time I witnessed an admirable arc of maturation and growth in BVA's representation product. My experience with BVA was not centered on direct member service but rather on BVA's advocacy efforts and I can report enthusiastically on the solid reputation that BVA enjoys with Members of Congress. It is my opinion that, year in and year out, BVA has been an exemplar for Veterans Service Organizations in their advocacy efforts before Congress and the administrative agencies. BVA has led the way in securing greatly improved services for blin rehabilitation, low vision, and, more recently, in polytrauma, traumatic brain injury and its effects on vision.
Writing from the perspective of a former representative for an individual membership association, I am most sensitive to individual members' assessment of their membership association. From an association staff perspective, its our sensitivity to members' charge of:"what have you done for us recently"; and, from the association member perspective it's "we pay our dues (etc) yet we wonder about the value..." This refrain from both the staff and member perspective has always been thus; it's the vdery nature of association representation no matter the endeavor. But rest assured, there is QUANTIFIABLE evidence BVA takes a backseat to no VSO when it comes to their committment to steadfast - and sometimes even aggressive - representation for BVA's agenda. Just ask to see the record of "points on the board" BVA has compiled for its members.
David S Danielson
American Optometric Association 1975-2013
My name is Paul Davidson and I am the Federal Program Manager for Deque Systems Inc. Deque Systems is a Prime Contractor to the Veterans Administration where we test and partially remediate html content that is in the public domain as well as behind the VA firewall. Our goal is to significantly improve web accessibility for blind and disabled veterans who are dependent upon screen reader technology to interact with the agency content such as Insurance, Benefits and Career sites. Deque has had the good fortune to work with the Blinded Veterans Association as we identify use cases for these web sites. We have worked closely with BVA field staff to understand some of the challenges that blinded veterans face. BVA has outstanding staff and management that are committed to the cause and greatly benefit the disabled community and specifically our nation’s veterans.
I have had extensive experience with the BVA not only in projects but observing first hand their work to support Veterans. I believe your rating is completely inaccurate and does not address the fine work the BVA is doing. This is a small organization of dedicated professionals who works hard for veterans. I have seen first hand how they were able to get funding for veteran's research and other benefits as well as raise awareness of the vision problems encountered by active duty and veterans that was being neglected. They are the driving force for DoD establishing a Vision Center of Excellence at Water Reed. I suggest before you do such severe damage to the reputation of fine organizations such as this by looking at statistics you compile that are not connected to actual performance you exercise due diligence.
I have no direct connection with this organization and have never worked for them, but I do know first hand the fine work they do.
Review from CharityNavigator
After reading comments posted, I feel compelled to comment that the individual posting the negative comment about the Executive Director position knows little or nothing about the BVA HR procedures and or policies. It is important to know that the BVA National Board of Directors made a genuine effort to attract as many qualified applicants for the position of Executive Director as possible. Contrary to the posted negative comments BVA announced the position in a vast array of methods and mediums to insure reading the greatest number of potential applicants; the position was announced; mailed to all members, posted on the BVA website, email to all members (for whom we have valid email addresses), distributed via list serves ( BVA and both VA Visual Impairment Services Team and Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Services list serves) and in the BVA News Letter a.k.a. the “BVA Bulletin.” Over Ten applicants submitted requested applications and were carefully reviewed by a Search Committee and three individuals were determined to meet basic qualification and scheduled for interviews. The notion that an applicant needed to be a "Member" is incorrect. The Executive Director does need to be a blinded veteran and Member but there is no requirement in the By-laws he/she is required to be a Member at the time of submitting the application. The individual who ultimately was selected had been an Annual Member in the past but let the membership lapse. Subsequent to submitting the Application and prior to his interview, he did indeed join a as a Life Members. BVA has functioned for nearly sixty-eight (68) years adhering to the highest integrity pertaining to hiring practices. The organization has earned respect and credibility with the Congress of the United States and the Executive Branch of Government. The National Board of Directors and Staff would never do anything to jeopardize that reputation. Clearly, the individual who posted the negative comments did not have all the facts and lacked a true understanding of the organization and the integrity of its National Board of Directors and Headquarters staff.
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
Kay Starr 02/28/2011
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
Blinded Veterans Associations help me in getting benefits that I was unaware of, and getting gainful employment. Blinded Veteran Association also inspired me to not let my blindness by a barrier in accomplishing my goals.