Black and white photo of Wichita workshop and blind employees making brooms during WWII

Nearly a Century of Service

Our History

More than 80 years ago, we started as a small workshop and training school for the blind with just 12 employees. Today, we are a company of hundreds of individuals who are blind, low vision and typically sighted, all working together across the many branches of our organization. Learn more about the Envision story.

2020
Envision Dallas signage is mounted on the front of the building entrance that was formerly the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind.

Envision Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind is renamed Envision Dallas and formally moved into the Envision family.

2019
Entry to specially designed model apartment for BVI training at Envision Dallas.

The Envision Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind is announced as the new home for the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss.

2018
Customer Care specialists work in the newly opened Workforce Innovation Center at Envision.

The William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center opens addressing gaps in job creation for people with low vision or vision loss in the professional sector. Efforts also include advocating at state and federal levels for more businesses to make their facilities and jobs accessible to candidates with vision loss, testing and evaluating assistive technology and working with employers to establish a culture of inclusion and provision of upward mobility opportunities.

2013
View of the lobby at the new Envision Research Institute in downtown Wichita Kansas.

Also in 2013, Envision launches the Envision Research Institute. ERI plays a key role in helping us fulfill our mission through national studies aimed at breakthroughs which will improve the lives of those who are visually impaired by finding practical solutions to increase their quality of life.

2013
Man, who is blind, works on yellow material needed for a new product at Envision Industries.

A new strategy is launched through our Business Development Department to expand our commercial markets, plastic products and more. We continue to aggressively seek new partners, donors, fund development opportunities and products. Diversity is key to our success. 

2012
Group of professionals listen to a speaker at an Envision University conference.

We expand our educational opportunities through Envision University by providing multidisciplinary continuing education for rehabilitation professionals in the field of low vision. Through Envision University, we are establishing best practices to ensure continued research and clinical care for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. 

2010
Little boy with red hair who is visually impaired enjoys playing at the new Early Childhood Development Center.

We recognize a great need to help the youngest among us prepare to enter schools and envision the possibilities at every turn. Expanding our mission in 2010, we’re able to open the Envision Child Development Center, a vision-integrated preschool and daycare.

2008
Man who is blind walking outside Envision Main Street building with white cane and an Envision employee

In 2008, we move our rehabilitation center, administration and foundation to the Main Street building in Wichita, Kansas, which still serves as our headquarters today.

2006
Man in device has his vision checked by a specialist.

The first annual Envision Conference is held for low vision professionals.

2003
Woman, who is visually impaired, learns to use a CCTV at the new Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center.

In 2003, we expand even further, opening our Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center. Sensing the need for more room, we purchase and renovate our Main Street site downtown.

2000
Front entrance of the new building on Water Street in Wichita Kansas for Envision Industries.

The new millennium brought us to a new facility on Water Street in Wichita, Kansas.

1997
Woman, who is blind, works on camouflage material for a product sold at the Base Service Centers.

Envision Xpress is created. Base Service Centers providing new jobs for those who are blind or low vision allow us to offer our products to military personnel on military bases across the country.

To embrace this new direction, we change our name again. Wichita Industries and Services for the Blind, embracing its evolving and bright future, is now Envision. 

1986
Man who is visually impaired places a roll of plastic on a machine to create plastic bags.

We have a new name, Wichita Industries and Services for the Blind, and a new business model.

We recognize that we’re a “mission-driven business with a business-driven mission.” This renewal of our spirit and purpose brings in new products, new contracts, new locations and, most importantly, more employment opportunities.

Our financial footing improves and so do our services. The new rehabilitation division offers services benefitting individuals who are blind or low vision. It’s a new and essential direction.

1975
Outside view of the new location on East Lincoln in 1975.

As our product lines grow to include more cleaning and janitorial supplies, we look for ways to further grow our income. We also move from our home of the past 40 years to 801 East Lincoln in Wichita.

1960's
Lions Club members selling the cleaning products produced by those who are blind and visually impaired from Wichita.

We bring in new, quality products that allow us to grow. In addition to our brooms and pillowcases, we find our niche producing seat belts, cleaning cloths, doormats and janitorial products.

1950's
Man who is blind walks with his cane outside the building for the Kansas Foundation for the Blind.

After WWII, demand for our pillowcases and brooms dwindles. The Lions Clubs of Kansas forms in the 1950s and becomes the sales force for the workshop’s brooms.

The Caravan of Brooms lets Lions Clubs across the nation sell our brooms in their hometowns. Each club keeps a percentage of the profits for local projects.

The Caravan of Brooms becomes a driving force in keeping our shop, renamed the Kansas Foundation for the Blind, afloat through lean post-war years.

1938
Man who is visually impaired builds a broom at the Wichita Workshop for the US Army during WWII.

When the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act passes in 1938, it brings government contracts to companies employing people who are blind, allowing them to make products within government specifications.

We seize the opportunity on all fronts. During WWII, our Wichita Workshop and Training School goes to work supplying pillowcases and brooms to the federal government and the United States Army.

1933
In 1933, the Wichita School and Workshop for the Blind opened it's doors to help people who were blind or visually impaired to learn skills and give them employment.

Amid the Great Depression, the Wichita Workshop and Training School opens for adults who were blind. Like-minded folks wanted to create a space to teach workable skills to make and sell their own products for a profit, while giving people who were blind an opportunity to make a living.