The National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota (NFBM) is the state's largest and oldest organization of the blind. It provides self-help programs for blind people of all ages and activities.
As blind people, we know the loss of eyesight is not the . . problem of blindness. The real problem is the misunderstandings that surround blindness. These misconceptions can lead to well-meaning but harmful actions by the sighted toward the blind. Such actions can result in low self-esteem among blind people.
The NFBM overcomes this problem through education of the sighted to the reality of blindness and through mutual help among blind people. Such activities make blind people fully-participating members of society. People who are blind earn their living, raise families, and take full responsibility for their own lives.
The NFBM began in 1920 as the Minnesota State Organization of the Blind. It is a membership organization open to everyone who believes in the capability of blind people to help themselves become full participants in the community.
In 1940 Minnesota and six other states founded the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). Today, the NFB numbers over 50,000 blind people. It has organizations in every state, and local chapters in almost every sizable community.
During these many years we have made strong progress toward equality. We have improved employment opportunities and education for blind persons in the state of Minnesota and in the nation.
Our programs evolve as the needs of blind people change. In the 1920's we founded the Minnesota Home and Center for the Blind in St. Paul to deal with the difficulty blind people faced in finding housing. We then worked to change public attitudes that prevented the blind from being accepted as normal members of the community. Public education and legislation corrected those conditions, and today blind people can secure housing. We closed the Home and Center in 1980 as we continued our programs for full integration of blind people into society. Read more about our history.
Today, the NFBM provides individual counseling,advocacy, and education through a number of programs. Most of our members are blind, and our knowledge of blindness comes from our personal lives and our collective experience.
The membership of NFBM sets its programs and policies. Membership is open to blind or sighted persons interested in our mission. To be sure that these programs and policies reflect a true understanding of blindness, the majority of the members must be blind.
The members vote on decisions at open meetings. These meetings occur at regular intervals: monthly in local chapters, semiannually at a state convention, and annually at a national convention. The contributions of individuals, corporate donations,foundation grants, and fund raising by members finance all of our programs. Contributions to NFBM are tax-deductible.