Virginia Voice, Inc.
P.O. Box 15546
Richmond VA 23227
Mission Statement

Founded in 1978, the mission of Virginia Voice is “connecting individuals with disabilities to information using technology and the human voice.” Our mission statement reflects the variety of technologies we now use to deliver readings of current print and on-line publications, as well as self-produced interview programs.

These technologies include not only closed-circuit radio and TV audio channels, but also a “responsive design” website that gives user-friendly access to live-streaming broadcasts and recorded programs on demand from any device that can access the internet.

Our distinctive service uses volunteer readers to broadcast current news and information so that individuals challenged by blindness, vision impairments or other disabilities can stay connected to community life. We serve as eyes for those who cannot see and hands for those who cannot turn pages.

Listeners of all ages rely on the volunteer readers of Virginia Voice to “see” the world through the nuanced sound of human voices. Both our programming and our delivery options are focused on connecting listeners to the people, places and events of Central Virginia and beyond. The voices of our volunteer readers bring listeners – day and night – not only news and information, but also opportunities for involvement in their community.

Pursuing our defining purpose of connecting print-challenged individuals with the broader community involves

  • maintaining a full schedule (24 hours a day) of high quality, diverse programming
  • obtaining up-to-date content from a wide variety of print and online sources
  • producing programs that are relevant to different ages, needs and interests
  • recruiting and retaining hundreds of volunteer readers
  • connecting with community organizations that serve our target population in order to reach more people with our service
  • pursuing emerging technologies for more effective service delivery and marketing

 

Web and Social Media
Video
Volunteer Reader Dennis Waldron
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mr. James P. Wark
Board Chair J. Timothy Sexton
Board Chair Company Affiliation BB&T, Retired
Contact Information
Address P.O. Box 15546
Richmond, VA 23227
Telephone 804 266-2477
Fax 804 266-2478
E-mail jwark@virginiavoice.org
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1978
Former Names
NameYear
Virginia Voice for the Print Handicapped, Inc.2012
Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Revenue $352,581.00
Projected Expenses $352,565.00
Additional Documents
FY 2016-17 Budget2017View
2017 Fall Newsletter/Annual Report2017View
Brochure2015View
Fact Sheet May 20152015View
Statements
Mission

Founded in 1978, the mission of Virginia Voice is “connecting individuals with disabilities to information using technology and the human voice.” Our mission statement reflects the variety of technologies we now use to deliver readings of current print and on-line publications, as well as self-produced interview programs.

These technologies include not only closed-circuit radio and TV audio channels, but also a “responsive design” website that gives user-friendly access to live-streaming broadcasts and recorded programs on demand from any device that can access the internet.

Our distinctive service uses volunteer readers to broadcast current news and information so that individuals challenged by blindness, vision impairments or other disabilities can stay connected to community life. We serve as eyes for those who cannot see and hands for those who cannot turn pages.

Listeners of all ages rely on the volunteer readers of Virginia Voice to “see” the world through the nuanced sound of human voices. Both our programming and our delivery options are focused on connecting listeners to the people, places and events of Central Virginia and beyond. The voices of our volunteer readers bring listeners – day and night – not only news and information, but also opportunities for involvement in their community.

Pursuing our defining purpose of connecting print-challenged individuals with the broader community involves

  • maintaining a full schedule (24 hours a day) of high quality, diverse programming
  • obtaining up-to-date content from a wide variety of print and online sources
  • producing programs that are relevant to different ages, needs and interests
  • recruiting and retaining hundreds of volunteer readers
  • connecting with community organizations that serve our target population in order to reach more people with our service
  • pursuing emerging technologies for more effective service delivery and marketing

 

Impact

In 2015-16 Virginia Voice

  • provided an organized program of audio readings for approximately 4,000 listeners via fix-tuned radio, closed-circuit television, toll-free telephone and online
  • loaned fix-tuned radios to 120 new clients
  • received a daily average of 78 unique hits on our website, where visitors learned more about our mission and service, applied for service, explored volunteer opportunities, made online donations, and/or listened to live-streaming and on-demand audio programs (10% increase in use of interactive features)
  • intensively cultivated new and existing community partners and client-compatible organizations (10% increase)
  • introduced an improved website that enables users of any mobile electronic device to easily access our live-streaming broadcasts and on-demand programs.
  • increased broadcast hours to 24/7, 365 days a year.
 
In 2016-17, we plan to
  • expand the sources of program content to reflect the diversity of the population we serve
  • complete our upgrade our broadcast studio to more effectively support the technological advances in our service delivery
  • implement more comprehensive analytics for our website to provide reliable data regarding listener patterns and preferences
  • refine our annual survey to provide more useful information, and initiate a “baseline” survey for new listeners to more accurately track the impact of our service
  • diversify our funding sources, with an emphasis of individual donors and the local corporate community
Needs
  • Frequent turnover of personnel in partnering organizations (such as nursing homes and adult daycare centers), requires continuous cultivation and re-education with frequent communication and follow-up.
  • Limited staff time for pursuing social media opportunities and interactive technology.
  • Addressing the high attrition rate of our client population – the effects of death and aging, as well as competition with other main stream/customary/traditional media – requires continuous, pro-active outreach to client-compatible organizations and the general public.
  • Matching programming content to the demographics of our target population requires in-depth feedback from clients and networking with organizations serving similar clientele.
  • Securing adequate funding for our ongoing programs and expansion efforts requires continuous effort by staff and volunteers in stewardship, cultivation and solicitation activities. Of particular concern is the significant reduction in funding from state government and the United Way since 2008-09, resulting in a total loss of almost $34,000 annually.  More recently, Virginia Voice has lost significant foundation funding, which illustrates the need to diversify funding sources by increasing support from individuals and the local corporate community.
Background

Virginia Voice was founded in 1978 as a result of a meeting of about 50 individuals from around the state who gathered to address the need for audio access to print materials. We provide services similar to other audio information services across the country, and we are guided by standards of best practices established by the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS).

We are Central Virginia’s only source of audio access to current news and information as well as cultural connections for print-challenged individuals. What distinguishes our service from screen-reading software and smartphone apps (such as Apple’s Siri) is the human voice. A synthesized voice cannot convey compassion, warmth, excitement or any human emotion. Our volunteer readers not only connect our listeners to information, they connect them to a caring community.

In the last five years, we have tripled the number of radios distributed annually, increased website traffic (unique hits) by 500% and expanded community partnerships by 38%. 97% satisfaction was reported in our 2014 annual listener survey.

But the most powerful documentation of the effectiveness of our service is the gratitude expressed by listeners, whose lives have been immeasurably enriched by the combination of human voice connection and access to information. As one listener succinctly put it, "It means the world to me."

We currently serve approximately 4,000 print-challenged individuals in Central Virginia and Hampton Roads via “traditional” broadcast media – closed-circuit radios (loaned to clients by Virginia Voice), TV audio channels in hospitals and nursing homes, and a toll-free telephone line. This number also includes a conservative estimate pf internet listeners.

Increasingly, those who cannot see print of turn pages are “tuning in” to live streaming broadcasts and on-demand programs on our website – available from anywhere by anyone who has a connection to the internet. In 2014 our growing website traffic totaled a daily average of 78 unique hits to the site for information, volunteer scheduling, requests for loaned radios, secure online donations, and for our live stream broadcasts and recorded programs on demand.

About 85% of our registered listeners are blind or vision impaired, and 15% are unable to read due to other disabilities. Clients range in age from ten to 105, and 62% are age 65 and older.

 
CEO Statement As Virginia Voice's second CEO in its 38-year history, I have been humbled by the dedication of our volunteers and staff, and by the gratitude and loyalty expressed to us by our wonderful listeners.  It is an honor and a pleasure to restore to our listeners the opportunity to engage with their community by giving them access to the information most of us take for granted.access.  Virginia Voice is a lifeline to so many people who have been robbed of the ability to read printed material.  It is a responsibility we take very seriously.
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Area
Metro Richmond
Richmond, City
Ashland
Chester
Chesterfield County
Colonial Heights, City
Dinwiddie County
Ettrick
Goochland County
Hanover County
Henrico County
Hopewell, City
Matoaka
Petersburg, City
Powhatan County
Prince George County
Charles City County
King and Queen County
Louisa County
Hampton Roads

Virginia Voice serves approximately 4,000 print-disabled individuals in Virginia via traditional media – fix-tuned radio, closed-circuit television and toll-free telephone. This number includes a conservative estimate of listeners who access programming on our website. Anyone who can connect to the internet is able to receive the audio reading and information service of Virginia Voice.

 

Board Chair
Board Chair J. Timothy Sexton
Company Affiliation BB&T, Retired
Term July 2017 to June 2018
Email brtim7656@verizon.net
Board of Directors
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Elizabeth A. Bruce VCU Health System
Sue Conway Richmond Times-Dispatch
Crystal Crawley Virginia State Police
Susan Early Greycourt Consulting
Tina Egge Leadership Metro Richmond, Retired
Harold E. Harris Jr.VCU Health Systems
Dave Howard TowneBank
C. Gregory Lockhart MDBon Secours, Retired
Marshall Morton Media General, Retired
J. Timothy Sexton BB&T (retired)
Jan Thomas Hirschler-Fliesher
David Thompson Bank of America, Retired
Alexandra Wiles WVCE - Community Ideas Station
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 3 individuals with disabilities
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 7
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Audit
Executive
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Marketing
Nominating
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. James P. Wark
Experience

Jim Wark joined Virginia Voice as CEO in March 2016. He previously worked with Partnership for Families, a nonprofit agency serving at-risk children and families on Richmond’s Northside, where he served as Director of Marketing and Communications. Before joining the Partnership, Jim taught 3rd grade for Richmond Public Schools. Prior, he worked in local media for over 15 years, a career that included management positions with the Richmond Times Dispatch and a stint as publisher of Style Weekly. He also serves on the board of directors of WRIR 97.3 FM, Richmond’s independent public radio station, and holds leadership volunteer positions with Venture Richmond and the Richmond Folk Festival.

Senior Staff
NameTitle
Liz Cleal Program Director
Jennifer Cunningham Marketing Director
Staff
Full Time Staff 4
Part Time Staff 2
Volunteers 200
Plans
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Collaborations

 

We currently maintain about 70 working relationships with agencies and organizations that serve the needs of print-challenged individuals, including DBVI, McGuire VA Hospital, Sight Preservation Clinic, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Sportable, the MS Society, and Virginia TRIAD. These relationships are vital in reaching people who need our service. In one of our most effective strategies, we invite representatives from “client-compatible” organizations to be featured guests on our interview series, Face-to-Face.

The rehabilitation specialists with DBVI and McGuire VA Hospital – as well as area healthcare and senior service providers – recommend and help register individuals for our free audio reading service.

Two invaluable partners are WCVE-FM, which donates the use of its subcarrier for closed-circuit broadcasts, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which contributes subscriptions for our daily newspaper readings, as well as a monthly ad.

Other partners provide access to our programming, including The Washington Ear, Serotek; the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS), and AudioNow, a dial-up service that is accessible by landline or mobile phone –no internet connection needed.

 

Programs
Description

 

On daily broadcasts, volunteers read from current print and online publications, including information from organizations that provide services for individuals with disabilities. These readings are broadcast 24 hours a day via closed-circuit radio and on our website as live-streaming or on-demand programs.

We also produce Community Connections, interview-style programs designed to connect our listeners to services, organizations, people, places and events in our RVA community.

Another popular program presents readings from The Onion, a satirical website that parodies traditional news with stories, editorials and man-in-the-street interviews.

In several programs, our volunteers read from publications specifically for school-age listeners: KidStuff, Just for Teens, and Current Affairs. In partnership with Henrico County libraries and schools, we provide books that appear on recommended reading lists for middle and high school students.

 

Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled
Budget $398,049.00
Short Term Success

     In 2014-15, we anticipate (1) a 3% increase in the number of print-disabled individuals who receive our service via “traditional” media; (2) a 10% increase in the number of partnerships with organizations that refer clients and communicate to their clients the availability of our services; (2) a 10% increase in the number of “program hits” (occurrences of visitors accessing and listening to archived programs on our website); and (4) continued client satisfaction as reported in our annual survey.

Long Term Success
The overarching goal of Virginia Voice is to connect print-disabled individuals with the broader community through access to current information. This connection not only provides information about relevant issues, events and available resources, but also facilitates social interaction and a greater sense of independence and well-being.

The benefits of Virginia Voice go well beyond improving the quality of life for print-disabled individuals. Despite their many challenges, they are valuable members of society with unique gifts and abilities. Our services empower them to function as contributing citizens in the life of the community.

We believe electronic communications is the primary vehicle for future expansion of services and growth in our client base, particularly the younger print-disabled population. Live-streaming broadcasts and archived programming on our website are now accessible “on demand” by users of computers and mobile devices of all kinds.

Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $352,581.00
Projected Expenses $352,565.00
Endowment Value $991,359.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage (if selected) 5
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$75,685----
Government Contributions$0$62,050$31,025
Federal------
State--$62,050$31,025
Local------
Unspecified------
Individual Contributions$131,911$189,690$298,582
$13,794$16,719--
$36,499----
Investment Income, Net of Losses$3,961$59,868$138,177
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Other------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$295,802$281,082$267,411
Administration Expense$59,471$38,889$36,112
Fundraising Expense$20,466$24,794$26,298
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.700.951.42
Program Expense/Total Expenses79%82%81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue9%9%8%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$1,090,894$1,232,782$1,249,199
Current Assets$105,754$179,346$200,768
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$13,585$40$19
Total Net Assets$1,077,309$1,232,742$1,249,180
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities7.784483.6510566.74
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2016View
Comments
Organization Comments

Broad-based community support will always be required to serve the increasing number of individuals who need audio access to current news, information and cultural connections. We are committed to our policy of no client fees, but ask listeners to participate in the annual fund campaign for gifts from individuals. Additional revenue comes from a special event in partnership with a local service club; contributions from foundations, corporations and civic groups; an annual state government grant; and income from a modest endowment.

In-kind services include free use of the sub-carrier of the public radio station, complimentary subscriptions to the daily Richmond Times-Dispatch, monthly ads in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and the thousands of volunteer hours without which we could not operate. The significant support we receive from our large corps of volunteer readers equates to in-kind donations of almost $110,000 for FY 2015. That necessary support remains consistent and dependable.

We will continue to seek support from new grant sources, as well as from current and prior donors such as the Virginia Board for the Blind and Vision Impaired, Altria Companies Employee Community Fund, the Kiwanis Foundation, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, SunTrust and others.

Fundraising plans for 2016-17 include an annual fund campaign for gifts from individuals, a major gifts program, a legacy Giving program, a special event in partnership with a local service club, applications for modest state funding, and grant requests to foundations, corporations and civic groups. Increased public awareness generated by our expanded outreach efforts will create a receptive environment for funding requests to existing and new donors.