The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Board of Trustees today named Kirk Adams, currently the president and CEO of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., as its next president and CEO after a nationwide search. Adams will succeed longtime President and CEO, Carl R. Augusto, who is retiring after 25 years of distinguished service. Adams will begin his new position in May 2016.
“Kirk’s exceptional leadership record, nonprofit executive experience, keen understanding of the blindness field and deep commitment to improving the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired made him the clear choice. We are thrilled to have him as AFB’s next leader,” said Larry B. Kimbler, chair of the AFB Board of Trustees.
Adams is being hired as the organization approaches its 100th year in operation. Since 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind has been breaking down barriers and expanding possibilities for millions of people with vision loss.
“AFB’s commitment to making the world a more equitable, inclusive place for people with vision loss aligns directly with my personal passion. I am honored to be selected as the American Foundation for the Blind’s next president and CEO, and I look forward to working with the staff and board to build on AFB’s magnificent history and to shepherd this great organization into its centennial and beyond,” said Adams.
Since 2008, Adams has served as president and CEO of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., which provides independence and self-sufficiency through employment for people who are blind. Under Adams’ management, the Lighthouse has expanded to 11 different locations across the nation, increasing both revenue and the number of its employees, many of whom are blind, deaf-blind or blind with other disabilities.
“As a Board, we’ve been very pleased with Kirk’s leadership, and though we will miss having him at the Lighthouse, we’re excited to see the wonderful things he will accomplish in this new role at AFB,” said Harry Egler, chair of the Board of Trustees at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.
Prior to his chief executive role at the Lighthouse, Adams was general manager of administration and director of public relations and resource development at the Lighthouse.
Active in his community, Adams is a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Disability Employment and the Seattle Public Library’s Strategic Plan Advisory Committee. He serves on the boards of the Aerospace Futures Alliance and the Association of Washington Business, and until his appointment as CEO of AFB, he served on the AFB Board of Trustees. He is also the former treasurer and member of the Board of the National Association for the Employment of People Who are Blind.
“Kirk is a brilliant strategist; I’ve long admired his leadership at the Lighthouse and within the blindness field,” said Carl R. Augusto, AFB’s retiring president and CEO. “As an AFB Trustee, he is already a great champion of our organization and the 20 million Americans with vision loss that we serve, and I have no doubt that he will accomplish great things in this new role.”
Adams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He earned his master’s degree in not-for-profit leadership at Seattle University in Washington, and is working toward his doctorate in leadership and change at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Adams will be the sixth chief executive of the American Foundation for the Blind.
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The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.
Contact: Adrianna Montague
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American Foundation for the Blind