Social enterprise provides unique opportunity for entire Cincinnati business community to give back
The Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) is excited to announce the launch of its recently revamped social enterprise VIE Ability. Formerly known as CincySight, VIE Ability provides professional job opportunities and training for people who are blind or visually impaired through its office supply distribution center.
“Since launching the social enterprise in 2013, we’ve experienced tremendous growth thanks to the support of the local business community. Our new name and brand signifies our success and plans for a strong future,” said John Mitchell, CEO of CABVI. “Every business needs office supplies and by purchasing them through VIE Ability, local companies can give back to the community and help create meaningful career opportunities for people who are legally blind or have severe vision loss. It’s a really unique business model that brings our community together and creates a strong basis of support for CABVI’s mission.”
VIE Ability is easy to use, offers free next day delivery and no minimums on more than 40,000 high-quality office supplies. In just three years, their customer base has grown from a few non-profits to more than 100 local companies, including Sunny Delight, ADEX International, Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Quaker Chemical.
“As we introduce our new name and brand, our goal is to reach even more local businesses who need competitively-priced office supplies and at the same time, want to help make a difference in someone’s life,” continued Mitchell. “Our business customers are the key to the success of VIE Ability and those we employ. The more we grow, the more job opportunities we can create in our region. It’s truly a win-win for everyone involved.”
The unemployment rate for people who are legally blind or have severe vision loss has reached 65 percent. Many people who are visually impaired experience vision loss later in life after they have finished school and worked hard to establish their careers. VIE Ability is on a mission to provide these individuals with another chance to build a successful career path. They currently employ five people with significant vision loss with the goal of adding many more job opportunities and transitional employment in the community this year. VIE Ability is unique because they offer paid on-the-job training so people have the opportunity to learn, earn money and eventually move on to a meaningful job in the community.
This brand relaunch was made possible with the help of two area branding agencies that partnered to create the new VIE Ability identity. Suzie Wright from Brandwright developed the name and strategic language. Brandimage Cincinnati then brought the name to life and developed brand guidelines and core graphic touchpoints. Both organizations are committed to making a difference in the community. Brandwright provides brand strategy services to nonprofits and businesses whose goal is to drive positive, social or environmental impact. Brandimage, a global branding and strategy agency, has a longstanding relationship with CABVI. The agency rebranded the organization in 2004, creating a new logo, marketing materials, photography and signage.
Brandimage’s Patti Bresler, the creative director since the 2004 project and now a CABVI board member, said that the agency was delighted to take on the new assignment for this growing social enterprise: “By leveraging the dynamic energy and enthusiasm of our two teams, VIE Ability has been brought to life and is ready to make a difference in a visually impaired person’s life through employment opportunities and training,” Bresler stated.
In addition to their new name, VIE Ability recently received grants from the Lions Club of Western Hills, the Ohio Valley Foundation, and the Harold C. Schott and The Joseph J. Schott Foundations. These grants allow the group to purchase adaptive equipment for staff and a new van to expand its delivery area and serve more customers.
VIE Ability will host an event to celebrate its new name and brand and create more awareness about what they do. Taking place on April 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Braxton Brewing Company in Covington, the event is open to the public and a portion of drink sales will go to CABVI.
For more information about CABVI or VIE Ability, visit www.cincyblind.org or www.VIE-Ability.org.