Graphic that says "Grants Update" with the Clovernook Center logo

August 25, 2020

Grant awards total more than $389,000 to improve the lives of the blind and visually impaired

CINCINNATI – August 19, 2020 – Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired (Clovernook Center) announced it has received 15 grants totaling more than $389,000 to fund equipment upgrades and new programming to benefit people who are blind and visually impaired (BVI) in the Greater Cincinnati community.

Michael Ehrensberger, Chairman of the Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired Board of Trustees, says each of the grants is essential to the work and mission of the institution.

“Clovernook Center is always extremely thankful for the institutions and foundations that are gracious enough to support the work being done,” said Ehrensberger. “Our nonprofit works in many capacities with those who are blind or low-vision to enrich and improve their lives. None of the work we do would be possible without the generous support of funders who see the vital importance of and support this work.”

A $102,800 grant from the Ettlinger Trust Fund, as well as generous donations from several foundations, will fund the continued work of the Clovernook Center’s Pediatric Low Vision Clinic. The Pediatric Low Vision Clinic is the result of a partnership between Clovernook Center and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; this grant will enable the clinic to provide low vision and assessment services for clients age 3-21 living with uncorrectable visual impairments that can interfere with academic performance and daily activities.

The Pediatric Low Vision Clinic, working with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Ophthalmology, works to enhance each child’s remaining vision and provide access to visual environments in and outside the classroom. Clovernook Center’s program is unique in that it offers comprehensive services focusing on literacy, communication, safe travel, daily living activities, sustainable near tasks and social interactions.

Clovernook Center’s Pediatric Low Vision Clinic is also made possible by generous support from:

Additional grant funding received by Clovernook Center will allow the agency to continue to adapt to ensure the safety of its employees throughout the COVID-19 crisis, build out an adaptive sports program, continue the work of the Arts & Accessibility Initiative and more. Clovernook Center is grateful for the following grants:

  • An emergency relief grant of $25,000 will be used to mitigate the disparities between Clovernook Center’s blind and sighted employees. The grant will ensure all team members, but particularly those who are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, have the services and support they need right now. To do this, Clovernook Center has committed to paying all employees, despite their remote work capabilities, throughout the duration of Ohio’s shelter in place orders. They will also continue to accrue benefits. A case manager is available full time to ensure all blind and visually impaired staff and customers have supports they need right now. This project was funded by a grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and its Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
  • A $25,000 grant from the Charles H. Dater Foundation has been used to launch Clovernook Center’s Adaptive Sports Program for Youth. Through this program, youth who are blind or low-vision are able to participate in and challenge themselves through a variety of physical activities. These activities include adaptive rock climbing and skiing, showdown (a game similar to air hockey or table tennis designed for blind and visually impaired people) and beep baseball (a modified version of the national pastime). These activities help young people improve their motor skills and coordination while increasing their self-esteem, building friendships and encouraging them to learn the fundamentals of living a healthy lifestyle within their abilities.
  • A $9,500 grant from the Delta Gamma Foundation will support Clovernook Center’s Arts and Accessibility Initiative, which began in 2016. The grant will further subsidize accessible arts and cultural experiences by offering a variety of services and materials for Clovernook Center’s partner institutions. These services and materials can include: Braille booklets; tactile representations of exhibit elements; audio recordings; and on-site accessibility and experience assessments for local institutions.
  • A $75,000 grant from the Harold C. Schott Foundation has been used for braille resources and the hiring of a transcriber at the Clovernook Center’s Braille Printing House. With statistics indicating 70% of blind adults are unemployed, access to braille is imperative for students throughout all grade levels to lessen the achievement gap and build a foundation for future learning. Clovernook Center’s Braille Printing House has the infrastructure but limited capacity in terms of staff to produce braille textbooks, which are in dire need in schools. This grant will be used to hire an additional transcriber so Clovernook Center can accept more textbook and digital production projects.
  • A $11,451 grant from the Robert and Christine Steinmann Family Foundation  has been used to purchase four BrailleNote Touch Plus Notebook computers, the most advanced braille notepads currently on the market. The technology allows Clovernook Center team members who are blind to more easily create and read emails, share content to cloud services and browse the Internet as portable productivity stations, improving their efficiency and productivity.
  • A $6,000 grant from the Ruth J. and Robert A. Conway Foundation has been received to purchase specialized jigs to assist blind or visually impaired employees that work in the Industrial Operations and Social Enterprise Program at Clovernook Center. The jigs will assist with building industrial hanging folders, allowing Clovernook Center employees to work more efficiently, quadrupling the rate of production while significantly minimizing waste.
  • A $11,346 grant from the Ohio Arts Council has been received to support Clovernook Center’s Arts & Accessibility Program. The grant will provide at-cost or free accessibility materials and services to up to 10 cultural institutions to better serve the needs of visitors who are blind or visually impaired. The grant will provide braille, large print, and tactile graphics materials, audio services and accessibility signage. The Arts & Accessibility Program is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.
  • A $25,000 grant from The Patricia Kisker Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee has been received in support of purchasing assistive technology for Clovernook Center’s blind and visually impaired employees.

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About Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Since 1903, Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been providing life-enriching opportunities and empowering people who are blind or visually impaired to be self-sufficient and full participants in their communities. Adult programs and youth activities, as well as arts and recreation departments, provide critical services to those who need it. Clovernook Center’s Braille Printing House is the largest volume producer of braille in the world. It prints books, magazines and other materials for the National Library Services and braille patrons worldwide while providing employment opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. For more information, visit

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