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Our History

Our History

The Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ASB) is a testament to philanthropy, charitable giving and volunteerism in Philadelphia and the surrounding communities for well over a century.

What started as the Pennsylvania Working Home for Blind Men in 1874 exists now, more than 125 years later, as the largest 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization serving the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired in the Delaware Valley, which includes Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Northern Delaware.

An important part of our history took place in 1922, when the American Red Cross enlisted volunteers to teach braille to blind veterans returning from World War I. After tremendous growth, an independent agency named Volunteer Services for the Blind was formed in 1945 to transcribe books and magazines in braille. In 1947, recorded textbooks were created to help college students. In the early 1970’s, the program expanded to include government contracts.

ASB became a reality in 1983, when Volunteer Services for the Blind united with two other local agencies, the Information Center for the Blind and the Nevil Institute for Rehabilitation and Services.

This newly formed entity quickly became a strong and unified advocate for the blind and visually impaired, creating and offering services designed to rekindle self-confidence and rebuild lives through education, training and resources.

Since 1975, we have occupied the same home, on Walnut Street in Center City Philadelphia.

ASB remains steadfast in its mission to continually improve and build on what has already grown to be a comprehensive array of services for the people we are dedicated to serving. We will always innovate in response to our clients’ needs.

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