About Cleveland Sight Center

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Founded in 1906, Cleveland Sight Center (CSC) is the only organization in Northeast Ohio dedicated to fulfilling the lifelong needs of individuals who are blind or have visual impairments. Supported by 150 employees, 47 board trustees and 187 volunteers, CSC impacts thousands of people every year through direct services, outreach and education programs.

Our team of optometrists, therapists, employment specialists and other CSC staff is dedicated to assisting our clients to live their lives to the fullest. Through education, recreation, training and assistive technology, CSC provides opportunities for those who are blind or visually impaired to engage in activities and optimize remaining eyesight.

A Message From CSC Leadership

Photos of Howard Lichtig and Larry Benders

“The isolation we are all experiencing [during COVID-19] is a scary and lonely feeling – unable to see our loved ones, unsure of our surroundings and trying to figure out our new normal. However, for people living with blindness and low vision, like me, this is our daily life.”

- Alicia Howerton, Cleveland Sight Center staff member and client

In moments of darkness, it is often a beacon of hope that allows us to see what is possible on the other end. Throughout 2020, we all lived with uncertainty, fear and isolation due to COVID-19. However, we found hope in new ways. We adapted.

We, at Cleveland Sight Center, did the same. As we pivoted and found alternative ways to serve our clients, we couldn’t help but be reminded that adapting to something caused by an external force is what our clients are faced with daily.

Despite the fear and many unknowns that come with being blind or visually impaired, they choose to be brave every day.

2020 was no exception for them.

Our clients – living in a world that is designed for people who are sighted and left without their ability to rely on their sense of touch – adapted to physical distancing and new socialization protocols. Their resilience gave us hope and inspiration.

Our staff – building on a legacy of innovation and continuous advocacy for our clients – rose to the challenge of finding new and unique methods to deliver services to the blind and visually impaired community via remote and in-person trainings, tele-health sessions and telephone calls. We are excited to carry what we learned this year into our vision for the future.

Our donors, friends and volunteers – remaining loyal in their support – recognized the needs of our clients and donated their time, talent and treasure to ensure our clients would receive the services they needed to flourish.

Thank you for being our beacon of hope this past year. Because of you, we will continue to be a place of hope where every client can walk out our doors (virtual or not) with the confidence to thrive.

In the stories that follow, we invite you to “see what’s possible” when people who are blind or visually impaired choose to adapt and overcome obstacles.

What Did We Do?

Image of a laptop with various photos of CSC staff and Spellbound participants on it. A magnifier is moving across the computer screen to zoom in on each photo. Next to the laptop is two plants

In mid-March of 2020, Cleveland Sight Center’s main building closed due to the uncertainties of COVID-19. Similar to many other businesses, we had to quickly pivot our traditional in-person services to a remote service model. For CSC, there was one drastic difference – our clients are blind or visually impaired and rely on their sense of touch during trainings with staff – which limited the amount of remote services we could perform.

In May, staff recognized that our clients still needed vital in-person services that couldn’t be offered remotely. So, staff followed all safety guidelines, put on their PPE and delivered in-person services – providing essential relief to isolated clients in need throughout the year.

Together, our clients and staff adapted, overcame obstacles and allowed us to see what is possible by serving 5,522 people through direct services and outreach in innovative ways:

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Bright Futures Preschool Went Virtual

Instruction to students and parents was provided through interactive online sessions.

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Early Intervention Staff Got Creative

Virtual instruction to children (0-3) and their caregivers was provided and do-it-yourself tactile projects were mailed home.

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Braille Instruction Happened Remotely

Braille classes were taught as students followed along with their textbooks over the telephone.

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Low Vision Clinic Served Patients in New Ways

The clinic conducted tele-health appointments, serving 823 patients.

What Did We Learn?

Transportation is not a barrier

People who are blind or visually impaired are often unable to drive and have difficulties accessing public transportation. We learned that transportation does not have to be a barrier to access many of our services. Now, services are successfully provided remotely and engagement is no longer limited because of those unable to visit the building.

“I am so happy that you are hosting virtual dance and yoga. I typically am unable to leave my apartment because of my health concerns. I love to dance, and now I get to do it from my living room with all of my CSC friends!”

 – CSC Client

The future will only be more fruitful because of the lessons learned, and we continue to learn, during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all continue to see “what is possible” because of the resilience of clients, staff, donors and volunteers.

Thank You Donors and Volunteers!

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Thank you for believing that the blind and visually impaired community can achieve anything a sighted person can. Your support allowed us to continue to be a beacon of hope.

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Because of you, $2,410,337 was donated and 5,300 volunteer hours were completed in support of our clients. This support enabled CSC staff to focus on helping clients thrive during this difficult time.

“The past year has been so depressing, so dark, so hopeless. After my visit with Cleveland Sight Center I was able to acquire the recommended magnifiers and lights. Now I am able to read recipes, cooking instructions, prescription labels, microwave panels, ingredients, my mail and my own writing! I am so grateful for the advice, information and support given to me by the Cleveland Sight Center. A ray of hope. A ray of light on my cloudy days.

 – CSC Client

Donor Groups:

The Foresight Society

Established to honor all individuals who have made the ultimate commitment of an endowment gift, established a life income plan or made provisions in their estate plans to benefit Cleveland Sight Center.

The Champions’ Society

Members have given gifts totaling $5,000 or more in 2020.

The Leaders’ Society

Members have given $2,500 to $4,999 in 2020.

To view the donor and volunteer honor rolls visit our annual report page.

To learn more about available volunteer opportunities visit the volunteer page.

To make a donation visit our donate page.

Board of Trustees

Officers and Executive Committee

Howard A. Lichtig

Bonita G. Teeuwen
First Vice Chair

Joan U. Allgood

Wally Anders

Sheryl King Benford
Immediate Past Chair

Nathan Kelly
Vice Chair

Erin C. Ploucha
Vice Chair

Cheryl E. Fields
Chair, Consumer Council

Jill Marcotte
Chair, Strategic Planning

Dr. Jennell C. Vick
Chair, Client Services


  • Rebecca Alexander, LCSW-R, MPH, PLLC
  • Karen P. Assink
  • Mary H. Bookman
  • Karen A. Bradley, MD
  • Brent M. Buckley
  • Erin N. Chelune
  • Orlando Dangond
  • Robert L. Englander**
  • Thomas P. Furnas*
  • Michael H. Greenberg, OD
  • Robert L. Hartford, III
  • Lynn V. Heiligenthal-Showalter
  • Suber S. Huang, MD
  • Peter A. Igel
  • Frederick Kuper Jones
  • Kenny Koblitz
  • Kevin McKinnis
  • Beejadi N. Mukunda, MD
  • Thomas C. Norton
  • Caroline G. Oberndorf**
  • Edward Oberndorf
  • John P. O’Brien*
  • Thomas P. O’Malley
  • Sara W. Parish
  • Douglas A. Piper
  • Dr. Ronald E. Posner
  • Beverly J. Roach
  • James P. Sacher*
  • Andrew L. Sikorovsky*
  • Beth W. Smith
  • Linda Smythe
  • William L. Spring, Esq.*
  • G. Maxwell Toole
  • Marilyn Tsivitse
  • Myron (Mike) Weissman
  • Stanley E. Wertheim*
  • Steven Willensky

*Past Board Chair   **Trustee Emeritus

The Visionaries

The Visionaries is a group of dedicated young professionals that work to support CSC’s mission while raising awareness and funds through events that involve the community. Members develop leadership and networking skills that will prepare them to be the next generation of board leadership at Cleveland Sight Center.

Visionaries Associate Board Leadership:

Caitlin Beck

Joe Schafer
Vice President and Finance Chair

Jenny Sheehe
Recruitment Chair

Erin Chelune
Events and Fundraising Chair

Kevin McKinnis

Zac Stanley

Zak Benmerzouga

Allison Prelosky-Leeson

Evan Leeson

Cleveland Sight Center Leadership

Larry Benders
President and Chief Executive Officer

Kevin R. Krencisz, CPA, MBA
Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

Charlotte Fornal, CPA, MAFIS

Steven Frohwerk, MBA, MSA
Director of Marketing, Communications and Special Events

Chris Gruber
Director of Facilities & Transportation Services

Marcia R. Houston
Manager of Board Relations

Susie Meles
Director of Empowerment - Rehabilitation Services

Jassen Tawil, MNO
Director of Business Development and Customer Success

Ali Thomas, PHR
Director of Human Resources

Judith Weyburne
Director of Client Planning and Employment

2020 Financials

Balance Sheet


Endowment and beneficial trust investments $105,407,257
Property and equipment $10,018,756
Cash, receivables, inventory and prepaids $4,509,690
TOTAL ASSETS $119,935,703


Payables and accrued expenses $724,558
Donor annuities $163,746

Net Assets

Without donor restrictions $61,750,985
With donor restrictions $57,296,414
TOTAL NET ASSETS $119,047,399

Statement of Operations


Program and other service fees $4,273,560 45%
Endowment and trust revenue $4,104,871 43%
Public support $1,069,832 11%
Retail sales $94,751 1%
  $9,543,014 100%


Program services $7,908,522 83%
Management and general $1,041,334 11%
Fundraising $538,338 6%
  $9,488,194 100%
Surplus from Operations $54,820  
Image of a graph representing the various percentages of CSC revenue. Program and Service fees 45%. Endowment and trust revenue 43%. Retail Sales 11% and Public Support 1%


$9.543 Million in 2020

Program and other service fees
Endowment and trust revenue
Public support
Retail sales


9.488 Million in 2020

Program services
Management and general
Image of a graph representing the various percentages of CSC expenses. Program services 83%. Management and general 11 and Fundraising 6%