Published in Nonprofits
Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to become part of Mary Free Bed COURTESY PHOTO

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to become part of Mary Free Bed

BY MIBIZ STAFF Friday, December 20, 2019 09:58am

GRAND RAPIDS — The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired will become an independent subsidiary of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital on Jan. 1.

The nonprofit merger comes as ABVI Executive Director Richard Stevens is retiring after 17 years at the organization. 

As the 106-year-old Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired looked to expand its services, it considered affiliating with an organization that shared its values, and found a match “only two blocks away” in Mary Free Bed, according to a statement. 

“Both (Mary Free Bed and ABVI) share the mission to restore hope and maintain independence for people they serve. This partnership will enhance offerings at both organizations,” a Mary Free Bed said in a statement to MiBiz.

ABVI served more than 930 clients in the 12-month period ending on Sept. 30, and evaluated more than 500 patients in outreach screenings. About one in 10 patients are blind, while the majority have varying degrees of vision impairments, according to a statement. About two-thirds of patients for ABVI are age 70 or older, and the organization has a 95 percent success rate for helping patients maintain or improve their independence. 

Mary Free Bed executive Marcus Manders will assume leadership duties for ABVI. 

After the merger, Mary Free Bed’s goals for ABVI include expanding the scope of services, better coordinating services for patients of both organizations and growing the geographic service area. 

Mary Free Bed operates a 167-bed rehab hospital in Grand Rapids and offers services via its Rehabilitation Network with 36 partner hospitals across Michigan.


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