The Pathway to Success Goes Through You

three yellow dots

Donations are the life blood of any non-profit organization and we are no exception. Your support is a vital component to our ability to create life-altering opportunities for the visually-impaired community. To make it easier for you, we developed a variety of ways to give!

2 men blindfolded with beers

gift gathering & dining in the dark

Gift Gathering Logo


Grab a gift and join us Wednesday, June 22nd, from 5:30-7:30pm at Flying Bison Brewing Company for a night of beer, pizza and fun to benefit the auctions for our  “Dining in the Dark” gala held in September. 

Please RSVP by June 16th to Renee DiFlavio at or 716-888-4627. 

Admission: a gift, gift card, bottle of liquor, or donation valued at $25 or more per person. 

VIA: Visually Impaired Advancement invites you to our annual Dining in the Dark event, which will be held on Thursday, September 15th  at 5:30pm at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo! Invitations will be sent in mid-June with further details, but feel free to contact Renee DiFlavio at 716-888-4627 or with any questions. Enjoy an evening of raffles, auctions, keynote speeches, and more!


VIA annual Appeal

Dear Friend,

My name is Trisha Waldraff, and my son Zachery and I are clients of VIA. Zach and I are both legally blind. Our eye condition is called Aniridia. VIA’s programs are the best thing that ever happened for us. They give us confidence, exercise, and excitement to try new things. But most of all, I love how they get Zach and me out of our comfort zone. What I mean by this is since our vision is poor, it is horrifying trying new things you’ve never done before. Because of VIA, we try new experiences even though we are nervous. 

One example is when we went zip lining with VIA. Zach was so scared. Everyone kept telling him to do it. He didn’t want to until the instructor said it was the final call. He got just enough courage, and he LOVED it. He had the biggest smile on his face the entire day. That day meant everything to me because, as a blind parent, I could not do those activities for him. 

VIA helps us get out of the house and meet new people. Through VIA, Zach met the blind hockey coach and is now part of the blind hockey team. Zach is super excited! It’s all thanks to the VIA. The staff is amazing as well. They are always there to help and make sure everything is OK. Between the staff and other families, you feel so close with everyone as if they are your family.

Thank you to those who have donated in the past, and please consider giving today to help others like myself and Zach.  


Trisha W. – VIA Client & Ambassador

Via client ziplining
Zachary Waldraff ziplining during VIA READY program.
VIA clients Trisha and Zach hugging.
VIA clients, Trisha and Zachary Waldraff, hugging outside of their home.

donate now to our annual appeal

your donation will:

Provide eye exams and help clients with vision rehabilitation needs.

Support our youth programs to empower kids who are visually impaired to learn and grow. 

Help thousands who are blind or visually impaired in our community!

ways to help via

You can make a difference. Get your family, friends, or co-workers together and make a difference in the life of someone who is blind or visually impaired.

Pick one of the ideas below, or have fun with your own. All fundraising ideas lead to giving back to your community by helping people who are visually impaired achieve their highest level of independence!

Fundraising Event Ideas:

  • Blindfolded Yard Game Party: Corn hole, ladder ball, balloon toss
  • Gift Gathering Party: Invite friends; entrance fee is a gift basket valued at $25-$50 (items to be used for Dining in the Dark auctions)
  • Dining in the Dark Lunch: We provide a Vision Therapist to walk your guests through a meal blindfolded; the Host is responsible for providing food and drink.
  • Mock-tail Happy Hour (under 21 event): Mocktails and food (entrance fee is a gift card or gift basket valued at $25)
  • Happy Hour For a Cause (21 + event)
  • Dress Down Day: give $1 to $5 to dress down at work
  • Exercise Event: Spin class, Yoga, Zumba, Kickboxing
  • Shop for a Cause: Pick a local store, and partial proceeds can go to Visually Impaired Advancement
  • Bowling Party
  • 5K Run/ White Cane Walk Event
  • Facebook Fundraiser: create a fundraising page and have people donate for your Birthday!

Let Us Help You! 

Before your event or fundraiser, please reach out to VIA if you need any of the following:

  • VIA Logo
  • Informational/Marketing Materials
  • Event Publicity
  • Volunteers
  • Guest Speaker
  • Staff and clients to attend your event and support your efforts.

During the United Way Annual Campaign and with SEFA, you may “Donor Designate” directly to VIA.

These funds are made through your paycheck from your employment and come directly to VIA to support our programming. 

Need some volunteer hours?
Looking for a way to give back and still have fun?


How Can You Help?

  • Join our Planning Committee
  • Help Get Donations for our auctions
  • Help During Event


Samantha Burfiend


Look for: VIA -Visually Impaired Advancement

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to VIA!

AmazonSmile is the same Amazon; you know, same products and same prices!

Support VIA by starting your shopping at

Car, motorcycle, or boat donation to Any Charity provides easy, turn-key vehicle donation to Vehicle Donation through V-DAC support their favorite non-profits by donating a vehicle!

Go to the V-Dac website to find out how to donate your car to VIA: (Link: Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted M D Center for the Visually Impaired.) 

To donate, please go to, and under section Search, type “Olmsted.” Click the “Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted M D Center for the Visually Impaired” link. 


With vision loss affecting over 27 million people in the United States, VIA makes it our mission to help inform and educate the public about how people who are visually impaired can live and work independently. VIA’s blind simulation (commonly known as Lunch & Learn) helps educate and increase diversity awareness in the workplace. VIA shows the capability of people with all different abilities by giving others an interactive glimpse into someone who lives day to day without using their vision.



You can have 15 to 60 participants

VIA Staff will facilitate the simulation. Participants will be blindfolded and perform tasks:
  • Blindfolded Water Pour
  • JAWS Demo
  • Cane Travel
  • Eye Disease Simulation
The presentation and simulation take approximately one hour.


  • Increase awareness about diversity in the workforce
  • Increase awareness of the skills of people who are blind and visually impaired
  • Debrief discussion to allow participants to share thoughts
  • Great team-building experience
  • Encourages people to advocate, volunteer, and give back to our community

Contact us to set up a blind simulation for your company,organization or school!

Renee Diflavio
(716) 888-4627 

Wall of Reflection

The Wall of Reflection is a special gift campaign created by VIA to help fund our mission of assisting the blind, visually impaired and physically disables lead productive and independent lives.

These custom-designed and personalized metallic tiles will not only display your support of VIA it will become an integral part of the interior design of our lobby at our Main Street location. You can also have a tile created honor or memorialize a loved one.

Your gift will be part of the vision that we all share together.

Each Tile is 6 inches by 6 inches and can be engraved with your personal message and or name.

Wall of Reflection
Wall of Reflection