National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, recognizes 3M’s significant impact on the employment of people who are blind with its highest honor, the R.B. Irwin Award.
The award honors 3M’s longstanding commitment to creating employment opportunities for people who are blind. 3M is the second organization, and the first corporation, to receive the Irwin Award. The award is named for Dr. Robert B. Irwin, executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind in the 1930s and a member of the team who worked toward the formation of NIB.
“The Irwin Award is NIB’s most prestigious accolade bestowed upon those who have made outstanding contributions to creating and improving employment opportunities for people who are blind,” said Jeanne Morin, chairperson, NIB board of directors. “Considering 3M’s commitment and significant impact on creating career opportunities for people who are blind, we are thrilled to award 3M with this exceptional honor.”
The business alliance between 3M, NIB, and NIB associated nonprofit agencies has led to the creation of hundreds of employment opportunities for people who are blind. The collaboration between NIB and 3M began in 1987 when 3M partnered with NIB associated nonprofit agency Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) in Rochester, New York, to offer self-stick notes to the federal government. Today, ABVI produces more than 30 products using 3M materials. This alliance also paved the way for other NIB associated agencies, including the Louisiana Association for the Blind and the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, to develop partnerships with 3M.
“At 3M, we are committed to providing opportunities for people of all abilities and backgrounds to thrive, both professionally and personally,“ said Ann Anaya, chief diversity officer at 3M. “We’re honored to receive the Irwin Award, which affirms our ongoing commitment and celebrates the powerful impact of our longstanding partnership with NIB.””
On April 18, Anaya accepted the Irwin Award on behalf of 3M during a special awards banquet at the 2018 NIB/NAEPB National Symposium at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. The annual conference, hosted by NIB and the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB), brings together hundreds of NIB and associated agency employees, partners, and supporters to advance employment issues for people who are blind.
Since 1938, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) has focused on enhancing the opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining, and improving employment. NIB and its network of associated nonprofit agencies are the nation’s largest employer of people who are blind through the manufacture and provision of SKILCRAFT® and other products and services of the AbilityOne® Program. For more information about NIB, visit NIB.org.