Sensory Access Foundation (Sunnyvale, CA)


  • Name:Ms. Jo Bailard
  • Title:Development Director


  • Organization Name:Sensory Access Foundation
  • Address:300 W. Iowa Avenue
    Sunnyvale, CA 94086
    United States

Work Phone

  • Main phone:408-245-7330
  • Main fax:408-245-3762

Work Web

Other Phone

  • Direct phone:408-245-7330

User Email



  • Mission:
  • The mission of Sensory Access Foundation (SAF) is “to assist people who are blind or visually impaired to obtain or retain competitive employment by providing the highest quality access technology assessment, computer training, job placement and accommodation services with a goal of achieving 100% job retention.”

  • History:
  • SAF’s vision began in 1973 when Stanford University Professor John Linvill developed the Optacon, the first electronic information-technology device for the blind. The Optacon converts hard copy and electronic text into tactile representations of letters and symbols, allowing individuals to "read" alphanumeric characters with their fingers. Thus, the Optacon provided direct access to information for someone who was blind. John and his wife, Marjorie, founded the "Optacon Fund" to provide long-term, low-interest loans for persons who were blind and who needed assistance in purchasing Optacons.

    In the late l970's, the organization's name was changed to Sensory Aids Foundation to better reflect its expanding activities. At that time, SAF began its first program to use access technology to open jobs for persons who were blind or visually impaired in California. In 1979, SAF began training clients on the use of equipment as well as educating rehabilitation professionals about access technology for people who were blind. During the 1980's, SAF continued its on-going programs as well as inaugurating major research projects exploring new speech output technologies and their applications for students and workers who were blind.

    In 1991, the organization changed its name to Sensory Access Foundation, or SAF. Since then, we've expanded the use of information technology and broadened the range of available job opportunities. SAF provides Employment Services that include job development and preparation; Access Technology Services that include workplace accommodation and functional vision and assistive technology assessment; and Occupational Skills Training that includes computer and access technology training.

    In addition, SAF is just starting an entrepreneurial venture (SAF Business Services) to provide competitive employment opportunities for SAF clients and also generate additional revenue sources that will be reinvested back into SAF services. SAF Business Services is starting an Electronic Document Conversion Services business, with a focus on converting hardcopy files into electronic digital documents. Once the files have been converted to digital documents, they can be stored, retrieved, shared, and preserved. Using technology, this turn-key model of Electronic Document Conversion System and training program provides the potential for creation of service jobs particularly suited to be performed by people who are blind and visually impaired.

    Since 1995, SAF has served 2,799 clients and placed or retained 1,306 into competitive employment. The total salaries generated from 1995 to 2007: $26,886,887; total federal taxes generated from 1995 to 2007: $6,962,241; total state taxes generated from 1995 to 2007: $991,993; reduction in disability benefits paid: $4,656,704; cost of SAF Employment Program from 1995 to 2007: $8,212,862; average cost to place or retain a client into competitive employment: $6,289. Return-On-Investment (ROI) = 154%

    SAF’s services have received many prestigious awards, including the 2007 U.S. Secretary of Labor’s Exemplary Public Interest Contribution (EPIC) Award for creating equal opportunities in the workplace; the 2004 California Council for the Blind Humanitarian Award; the 2003 U.S. Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Award; the 2003 California Association of Nonprofits’ Achievement in Innovation Award; and the 2001 Employer Recognition Award from the Michigan Commission for the Blind.

    From the invention of the Optacon, to the development of an award winning Service Delivery Model, to an entrepreneurial venture, for 35 years SAF has set the standard in innovation for the employment of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. SAF believes productive, competitive employment is an important ingredient in a fulfilling life, allowing for financial independence and a sense of contribution to the community.

  • Year established:1973
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:11
  • Advisory board size:11
  • Staff size:26

Board and Executive Names

  • Board Members / Trustees:
  • William A. Preston, President and Chairman; Greg Fowler, Vice President; JoAnn Bitting, MBA, CPA, Treasurer; Deborah Stern, C.R.C., Secretary; Diana L. Drews, Executive Director; Larry Gaasterland, Sylvia R. Gerst; Jerry Nabhan; Flo Stafford; Blair W. Stewart, Jr.; Bill Tipton.

  • Executive Director / President:
  • Diana L. Drews, Executive Director

Staff Names

  • Key Staff:
  • Director of Employment Services Marie King; Director of Technology Services Chris Piper; Director of Business Services Todd Teixeira; Development Director Jo Bailard


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • Tax ID:23-7296574

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