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Lighthouse Guild

Lighthouse Guild
Lighthouse Guild logo 2016.png
Formation1906 – The New York Association for the Blind
1914 – New York Guild for the Jewish Blind
2013 – Jewish Guild Healthcare
FoundersWinifred and Edith Holt
Legal status501(c)(3)
Purposeaddress and prevent vision loss in children and adults
Headquarters250 West 64th St, New York, New York, USA
Region served
United States
President & CEO
Alan R. Morse
Chairman of the Board
James M. Dubin[1]
Main organ
Board of Directors

Lighthouse Guild is an American charitable organization, based in New York City, devoted to vision rehabilitation and advocacy for the blind. Its mission statement is "To overcome vision impairment for people of all ages through worldwide leadership in rehabilitation services, education, research, prevention and advocacy."[2]

Formerly known as Lighthouse International, it merged with Jewish Guild Healthcare and as of January 2014 became known as Lighthouse Guild International,[3][4] with the name eventually shortened to Lighthouse Guild.


During a trip to Florence, Italy, at the turn of the 20th century, sisters Winifred and Edith Holt learned of a free service that provided concert tickets to blind schoolchildren. Inspired by the notion, the sisters established the similar Lighthouse Free Ticket Bureau in New York City in 1903. The organization was incorporated in 1906 as The New York Association for the Blind and offered home counseling and instruction program for the visually impaired.[5] An early meeting for the board and the public, including blind men and women, was held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Also in attendance were Secretary Miss Winifred Holt, Recording Secretary Miss Edith Holt, President Richard Watson Gilder, Vice-President Helen Keller, with honorary vice presidents Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler and Samuel Langhorne Clemens. The advisory board consisted of Dr. Felix Adler, Joseph H. Choate, John Farley, Bishop David Greer, Dr. William H. Maxwell and Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst.[5]

Winifred Holt also participated in founding the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. In 1912, the association established a workshop on East 42nd Street where visually impaired men could manufacture marketable products, and the sisters opened their home to visually impaired women to create handcrafted items for sale, leading to the organization's motto, "Light Through Work."[6]

Lighthouse became international with the onset of World War I, when Winifred Holt in 1915 established Le Phare de Bordeaux, in France. Other overseas offices opened in Paris; Rome; Warsaw; Canton, China; Japan, the Middle East, India, South America, and elsewhere.[6]

That same year, the association created the River Lighthouse, in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, as the first of its eventually several summer camps for visually impaired children. Camp Munger, in Bear Mountain, New York, followed in 1923. A kindergarten was formed in 1925, and the Lighthouse Nursery School in 1933. An affiliation with the Ophthalmological Foundation in 1952 led to that foundation becoming the organization's research arm. The following year, the Lighthouse Low Vision Service was founded to administer to people with partial sight.[6]

Logo of predecessor organization Lighthouse International

In 1989, The New York Association for the Blind, Inc., became The Lighthouse Inc., and in 1998, the organization was renamed Lighthouse International.

In January 2010 Lighthouse International acquired the National Association for Visually Handicapped (NAVH),[7] an organization which provided services for the partially sighted.[8] In September 2013, a merger was announced with Jewish Guild Healthcare. As of January 2014 the new organization is known as Lighthouse Guild International. [3][4]

Branches and services

Former headquarters at 111 East 59th Street, New York City.

It operates the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute in New York, and New York Lighthouse Vision Rehabilitation Services.[2]

The volunteer organization Tennis Serves introduced blind tennis in 2011 at Lighthouse International and at the California School for the Blind in Fremont, California.[9]


The organization was headquartered at the Sol and Lillian Goldman Building at 111 East 59th Street in New York City.[10] This portion of East 59th Street was named Lighthouse Way in 1994.[2] After the merger with Jewish Guild Healthcare, the organization moved to 250 West 64th Street.[11]

Percentage devoted to programs

The New York Times in 2002 reported that Lighthouse at the time used 80 percent of its $28 million annual budget on its programs.[2]


  1. ^ "Board of Directors". Lighthouse Guild. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Krotz, Joanna L. (November 18, 2002). "Strategy: The Lighthouse Focuses On Donors New and Old". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Barron, James (September 16, 2013). "Hoping to Raise Awareness, 2 Leading Groups for the Blind Plan a Merger". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2013. The two organizations that are joining forces, Jewish Guild Healthcare and Lighthouse International, have slightly different specialties and slightly different patient populations. The new organization will be known as Lighthouse Guild International.
  4. ^ a b "Lighthouse Guild International (formerly Lighthouse International) – AFB Directory Profile". American Foundation for the Blind. Archived from the original on January 8, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Helping the Blind to See: Remarkable Work by Two New York Women in Behalf of the Sightless Teaching Carpentry, Telephone Operating, Massage, Sewing and Stenography to Those Who Cannot See". The New York Times. January 13, 1907. p. 5. Retrieved September 11, 2015. (subscription required)
  6. ^ a b c "New York Association for the Blind – Lighthouse International". Lighthouse International. n.d. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  7. ^ "Lighthouse International Acquires National Association for Visually Handicapped (NAVH)". Lighthouse International. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
  8. ^ "National Association for Visually Handicapped – NAVH". U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012.
  9. ^ Lin, Thomas (June 4, 2012). "Hitting the Court, With an Ear on the Ball". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  10. ^ "About". Lighthouse International. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  11. ^ [1] (official site)

External links