The Foundation


The Foundation is a Nebraska corporation that is qualified as a tax-exempt organization under federal and state income tax laws.


In the early 1960’s, a group of compassionate women began the Omaha Sight Center Nursery at the Beth El Synagogue. To better meet the needs of these families, these women incorporated the Nebraska Foundation for the Visually Handicapped so that they could receive a $10,000 grant from the Eppley Center. This money was used to start a pre-school at the Omaha Sight Center. During this time, Ruth Sokolof and Berniece Wofson initiated an annual Christmas party for blind and visually impaired children.

Although changes in federal and state law and policy eventually made the pre-school unneccessary, the Foundation continued the party and expanded its activities to include a variety of programs designed to stimulate the intellectual, social, cultural and emotional growth of visually impaired and blind children. Over the years, the Foundation has:

  • Funded the wages of teachers of the visually impaired at JP Lord School
  • Worked with legislators to change jurisdiction of children with visual impairments from under the Board of Control to the Board of Education
  • Worked to help legislative matters related to special education and visual impairments
  • Enabled the first child who was blind to be enrolled in District 66
  • Sponsored a special summer camp through the Salvation Army
  • Established a specialty blind shop for aids and devices
  • Assisted with funding the Radio Talking Book Network
  • Helped with the design and implementation of a barrier-free park
  • Offered opportunities for educators/family members to attend advanced training
  • Sponsored children with music lessons and events
  • Sponsored children to attend national/international sporting events
  • Sponsored family members who were deaf/blind to attend the Helen Keller Center
  • Sponsored interpreters for the deaf/blind at conventions and workshops
  • Arranged tours for persons with visual impairments at the Joslyn Art Museum, Fontenelle Forest, SAC Museum, Durham Western Heritage Museum and Omaha Children’s Museum
  • Assisted the National Federation of the Blind in funding the audio descriptive movies at the Omaha Oakview Theater
  • Assisted with the funding for the Weigel Williamson Center for Visual Rehabilitation

The Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011 with a fundraising event that raised nearly $20,000 for Foundation activities.

In 2011, the Board of Directors of the Foundation approved a restructuring plan to refocus Foundation activities primarily on the programs described in this website, with a special emphasis on the provision of adaptive technology to blind and visually impaired children.


The Foundation’s activities are supervised by and conducted through a Board of Directors. All Board members are unpaid volunteers. Current board members are:

President: Nancy Flearl
Omaha District Supervisor, Nebraska Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Vice-president: Matt Johnson
Retired teacher, parent of blind student

Secretary: Howard Kutler

Retired business owner, Nova Health Equipment

Karin Coker
Retired teacher, parent of blind children

Kaye Dengel

Marriott International

Karen Sokolof Javitch
Song Writer, JMR Productions

Kevin Loberg
Wells Fargo Bank

Ben Reynolds
Sheppard’s Business Interiors

Clark Rosenlof
Vice-president, University of Nebraska Foundation

Anthony Scioli
Partner, Kutak Rock LLP

Doug Wolfson
Westside Schools

Please feel free to contact our Board President or Vice-President at the e-mail addresses listed above, or any other member of the Board at if you have questions about or requests of the Foundation.