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History

On August 10, 1938, NIB was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to enhance the opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment.

To learn more about NIB's history, download the book, "Empowering People: The Story of National Industries for the Blind and its Associated Agencies."

Audio versions of "Empowering People" are available:

Opening Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3
Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Appendix A
Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E Appendix F
Appendix G Mission, Vision, Values Acknowledgements About the Author Back Cover

 

All Rights Reserved. ©NIB, 2013.

Here is a timeline of several key events in NIB’s history:

1938 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Wagner-O’Day Act, NIB is incorporated and the Committee on Purchases of Blind-Made Products is established.
1943 NIB expands services to associated agencies to include product development and distribution, and serving as liaison with government agencies. 
1950 The Bureau of Federal Supply is transferred from the Treasury Department to the newly established General Services Administration (GSA).
1952 NIB launches SKILCRAFT ®, the brand name for quality consumer products made by people who are blind.
1955 NIB opens an office in Washington, D.C., to better serve federal customers. 
1969 NIB establishes a rehabilitation services division to increase skills and abilities of people who are blind.
1971 Legislation sponsored by Senator Jacob K. Javits adds the purchase of services and includes agencies serving people with other severe disabilities to the original Wagner-O’Day Act, which is renamed the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act. The Committee on Purchases of Blind-Made Products is renamed the Committee for Purchase of Products and Services of the Blind and Other Severely Handicapped, and the program is named the Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) Program.
1975 NIB establishes its first financial assistance program for associated agencies and creates a subcontract department to assist associated agencies.
1977 NIB forms legislative affairs and public relations departments to develop a greater presence in government and public affairs.
1981 NIB establishes a compliance department to help associated agencies comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
1984 NIB constructs a new technical center to provide advanced laboratory facilities, production line testing, rehabilitation engineering and training capabilities.
1995 NIB associated agencies take on new service contracts in warehousing and distribution, customer service, order entry, invoicing, data entry and database management.
2003 NIB launches the Business Leaders Program to enhance options for people who are blind in careers offering greater upward mobility.
2007 The Committee for Purchase changes the name from the JWOD Program to the AbilityOne Program. 
2009 NIB launches the Contract Management Support (CMS) to meet a federal government need for contract specialists.
2011 NIB is named one of the "Best Places to Work in Virginia" by Virginia Business magazine and Best Companies Group.
2012 NIB is again named one of the "Best Places to Work in Virginia".
2013 NIB celebrates its 75th anniversary and is named one of the nation's best nonprofits for which to work by The NonProfit Times.
2015 NIB purchases land in Alexandria, Virginia, to construct its new corporate headquarters.