Eye-Link, North Dakota, an all-volunteer non-profit 501c3, was founded in October, 2015. This charity is responding to the unmet special adaptive technology needs of hundreds of North Dakotans who are either Blind or struggling with severe visual impairment. Eye-Links’ mission and sole purpose is to provide people experiencing uncorrectable sight loss, through grant applications, highly specialized assistive technologies and any associated training. Acquiring access to all forms of information is a life altering experience for technology grant recipients. Receiving this highly specialized equipment immediately strengthens their independence and develops self-sufficiency, which can enable them to become more productive and prepare them for meaningful employment. The current estimate of Blind unemployment in North Dakota is approximately 70 percent!
Adaptive or assistive technologies are non-medical combinations of critical hardware and software packages that lend “voice” or Braille output to computers, smart phones, classroom note taking, document scanners, bar code and prescription readers, and Braille readers. Experience shows that the most prevalent request is for a computer with specially designed screen reading software giving voice to all that is displayed on the monitor, which allows the user to type and format documents, access web sites, make financial transactions, read E-mail, and access any information that a sighted person can. The second most applied for technology is a smart phone that is matched with two apps of software that gives speech to the camera, GPS, and any cell communications. The camera becomes a document scanner making the reading of restaurant menus, household mail, text books, and even common signs a reality. Many Foundation grant recipients use the technologies they receive to locate work and be vocationally productive.
Eye-Link, North Dakota is projecting that it will receive over twenty grant requests for adaptive technology in the next 24 months. The parent Foundation strives to locate and purchase all adaptive equipment from the lowest cost providers. When available Eye-Link, North Dakota will accept or purchase refurbished or donated equipment for reuse. Costs for assistive technology packages are steadily rising. The cost of these critical combinations of hardware and software that puts “voice” to all forms of information ranges between $600 and $3800.
We expect that most grant applications to Eye-Link will be a direct result of two factors. There is an increase in North Dakota of people undergoing significant sight loss. There is a percentage gain in sight loss within the general population, which is attributable to the aging process causing major amounts of macular Degeneration, age related glaucoma, and a steady rise of cases of citizens with adult onset diabetes that can eventually cause diabetic retinopathy.
The all volunteer Eye-Link, North Dakota non-profit is solely supported through the generosity of individual supporters. We will reach out to the general public with Public Service Announcements sharing the critical mission and the need for financial support.
Eye-Link, North Dakota as an infant non-profit is struggling to meet necessary initial funding goals. We need your help! Please consider a fully tax-deductible contribution by going to the “Donate” icon on this page (or site). If you are more comfortable with mailing, please make your check out to:
Eye-Link, North Dakota
PO Box 7535
Fargo, ND, 58106
Thank you for considering North Dakota’s Blind and visually impaired when you act to help others!
North Dakota Eye-Link Board Members
Todd J. Fahlstrom
Grant Reviewer / Secretary