Drawing on more than 200 years of combined service, Lighthouse Guild’s experience is unmatched.

Lighthouse Guild was officially formed in December 2013 when Jewish Guild Healthcare and Lighthouse International combined, to become the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization. Drawing on more than 200 years of combined service, with histories dating back to 1914 and 1905, respectively, Lighthouse Guild’s experience is extensive. Our history of service is outlined in this timeline below.

1905-1914

1905 – Winifred and Edith Holt, two sisters, found The Lighthouse, which quickly becomes a pioneer in the field of vision rehabilitation. A year later, it’s officially incorporated as The New York Association for the Blind Inc. and begins providing counseling and instruction.

1913 –The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School opens its doors. It is a music school for people who are blind or have vision loss.

1914 – The first formal meeting of the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind is held. The organization begins providing care and support for blind children, and improving physical, mental, and economic conditions for blind adults.

1915-1950

1919 – The Guild opens a home in Yonkers to care for blind children. In the years following, a cottage for blind women and an annex for blind men are added to the home.

1923 – More than a decade after opening the first Lighthouse camp for children with vision loss, River Lighthouse, a second summer program launches with the opening of Camp Munger.

1935 – The Guild opens the Braille Library, which will go on to become famous for transcribing textbooks for blind children.

1951-1960

1951 – The Guild School opens its doors providing education and therapeutic services for children age 5-21 from the metropolitan area who are blind, have vision loss or deaf/blind, and with additional disabilities.

1952 – The Lighthouse forges an affiliation with the Ophthalmology Foundation, which begins conducting first-of-its-kind blindness research for the organization.

1960 – The New York Guild for the Jewish Blind is renamed The Jewish Guild for the Blind to reflect its non-sectarian status.

1961-1971

1961 – The Guild opens its psychiatric clinic – the first to specialize in blindness – which continues to improve people’s lives today, and remains the only multi-disciplinary psychiatric clinic of its kind in the country.

1967 – The Lighthouse opens a child development center. Operating today as The Ethel and Samuel J. LeFrak Children’s Educational Services, the multidisciplinary program gives preschool children with vision loss and other disabilities a solid foundation to help them reach their full potential.

1971 – The Guild opened the Estelle R. Newman City Center at 15 West 65th Street in Manhattan.

1972-1985

1975 – The first American Medical Association-accredited professional training program in low vision care is established at The Lighthouse.

1981 – The Pisart Award is inaugurated to recognize a person who has made a noteworthy contribution to the prevention, cure or treatment of severe vision loss or blindness.

1984 – GuildCare, the Guild’s Adult Day Health Care Program, opens at the Guild Home and in the Bronx.

1986 – 1995

1989 – The Guild’s Elizabeth L. Newman Preschool opens in Manhattan.The New York Association for the Blind Inc. officially becomes known as The Lighthouse Inc. to reflect the deep philosophical shift embraced by the organization to define people for their potential rather than disability.

1990 – The Guild opens its Day Treatment Program to serve people who have vision loss, are hearing impaired and multi-disabled.

1994 – The Guild opens the Diagnostic Treatment Center at the 65th Street location, offering medical, diabetes and low vision rehabilitation services.

1996 – 1999

1996 – The Guild and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami School of Medicine complete plans for Lois Pope Jewish Guild for the Blind Low Vision Center located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

1997 – The Guild establishes GuildNet, a managed long-term care program that, for the next 18 years, will provide in-home care to thousands of New Yorkers.

1998 – The Lighthouse Inc. becomes Lighthouse International in recognition of its outreach on behalf of people worldwide who are visually impaired. The Guild’s Assistive Technology Center opens at the 65th Street location.

2000 – 2003

2000 – Sightcare, the Guild’s program to educate caregivers for blind and people with vision loss, commences training.

2001 – Lighthouse International inaugurates The Henry Grunwald Award for Public Service and names Grunwald its first recipient for his significant contributions in raising public awareness of vision impairment.

2003 – The Guild awards the first Alfred W. Bressler Prize in Vision Science, a prize given to a professional who’s made important advancements in the treatment of eye disease or rehabilitation of persons with vision loss, to Richard A. Lewis, MD, MS.

2004-2013

2004 – The national GuildScholar Program begins, which awards scholarships to help legally blind young adults successfully transition to college, to support their post-graduate education, and to facilitate career development.

2006 – The Guild’s Children’s Vision Health program starts. It’s the first national tele-support group for parents of children with vision loss.

2013 – Jewish Guild Healthcare and Lighthouse International announce plans to combine as one organization.

2014 – present

2014 –The combined organization, Lighthouse Guild, officially launches and focuses efforts on integrating vision and healthcare services and expanding access through education and awareness.

2018 – Lighthouse Guild rebrands and expressly defines its mission as addressing and preventing vision loss and moves to its current location at 250 West 64th Street, New York, New York.

2021 – Lighthouse Guild launches a new mission statement:  To provide exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals.

Groundbreaking of the Lighthouse Guild tech center.
Groundbreaking of the Lighthouse Guild tech center.

2021

Lighthouse Guild launches a new mission statement:  To provide exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals. Opens the Lighthouse Guild Technology Center – the largest premier assistive technology resource in the U.S. The Center is a hub connecting innovators and users to advance technological developments. People who are visually impaired as well as anyone who needs help can come for assessments, opportunities to try out cutting-edge and basic technology and training.