Program for the Blind

The late Ellen and Harry Smith never met Lisa C. but their generosity has helped her develop her artistic abilities, as well as boost her self-confidence. Lisa makes and paints clay ornaments – stars, hearts, gingerbread men, doves, and more.

While many people create holiday ornaments, Lisa's story is a bit different: she began to lose her vision in the summer of 2013 and now is legally blind.

"What I love is that every piece has its own personality. No two pieces are ever the same," Lisa says, adding, "I really appreciate that people like my work. I was surprised by that because I have never had that kind of response to things I have done in the past."

Lisa receives services through the low vision clinic at INSIGHT and participated in the organization's art classes taught by a legally blind instructor. Christopher Butler, INISIGHT's executive director, shares, "Lisa came out of her shell a lot through the art program. We have a philosophy that blind people can do everything sighted people can do, except drive. We have to find the key that gives people the self-confidence they need. For a lot of people who were in the art program, that was the key."

Of Foundation support, Chris states, "All aspects of the agency have been able to grow. It's been a huge benefit, allowing us to build on our strengths and also expand programs." He says that through the years, grants have enabled expansion of the agency's youth program, low vision clinic, and diabetes program, and that an electronic records system the Foundation funded "was huge in giving people who are blind the opportunity to work here on the professional staff."

INISIGHT is one of more than a dozen Rhode Island nonprofit organizations that has received funding from the Foundation's Program for the Blind, a program comprised of four funds: Alvina Legere Fund (established in 2003), Helen Walker Raleigh Vision Fund (2006), Dorothy Hackney Smith Fund (1980), and Ellen and Harry Smith Fund (2010). Together, these funds enable the Foundation to play a major role in serving the legally blind and visually impaired in Rhode Island.

The Program for the Blind supports services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, vision research such as macular degeneration, and summer camps for children with low-vision and blindness. In the last five years alone, the program has awarded more than $1.2 million.


One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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