Bill Gerrey Blind Makers Fund

Portrait of Bill Gerrey holding one of his devices

PayPal Donation ButtonEmpowering Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals in Assistive Technology Design, Creation, and Innovation

The Bill Gerrey Blind Makers Fund is dedicated to supporting the participation of blind students, hobbyists, scientists, and engineers in the development and fabrication of technology to assist blind people. The fund honors the legacy of Bill Gerrey, a passionate advocate for accessibility and a pioneer in the development of tools for the visually impaired.

Bill was an inventor, a tinkerer, and a facilitator. He has created numerous innovative tools for blind individuals to utilize in their homes, schools, and workplaces. He particularly focused on solving problems of blind employees in technical fields, ham radio operators, and hobbyists, significantly increasing the accessibility of technical professions and hobbies for individuals with visual impairments. 

William Gerrey (WA6NPC), was also the editor of the Smith-Kettlewell Technical File, published for and with the help of other blind and visually impaired electronics amateurs and professionals. It provided among other things a complete soldering course for blind people, documentation of accessible circuit design techniques, and instructions for building numerous tools and gadgets with audio and tactile outputs useful for blind people in many areas of life. Published by the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, it was available in Braille, large print, audio cassette, and 5-1/4" floppy diskette at different points in time between the Fall of 1980 and the Spring of 1998, and is now available on our website.

In short, Bill and his colleagues, including Tom Fowle, Jay Williams, and Josh Miele, pioneered the training of blind individuals in what is now called the “Maker Movement”, empowering individuals to access and harness technology to solve practical problems and enhance participation in society.  

Our Mission

Our mission is to fulfill Bill Gerrey's passion by supporting and encouraging other blind people to join in this Smith-Kettlewell tradition, facilitating their full participation as inventors, developers, and researchers committed to improving the lives of those with visual impairments. 

What We Fund

The Bill Gerrey Blind Makers Fund supports activities including but not limited to:

•    Internships and scholarships to support blind individuals in learning and applying techniques for independent access to technology
•    Educational programs and workshops for blind individuals that teach skills related to technology development and innovation.
•    Support for young blind researchers working to develop accessibility tools and techniques
•    Research into new methods and materials for creating assistive tools.
•    Collaborative projects that involve the visually impaired community in the design and testing of new technologies. 

Get Involved

Your support can make a significant difference in advancing assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired. Here are ways you can get involved:

  • Donate: Contributions to the Bill Gerrey Blind Makers Fund to directly support blind students, interns, trainees and researchers in innovative assistive technology programs 
  • Partner with Us: Collaborate on projects, share resources, or offer your expertise to help us achieve our mission.
  • Spread the Word: Help raise awareness about the fund and its impact by sharing our mission with your network.
  • Contacts and Referrals: Whether or not you can help personally, you may have friends or contacts who would be interested in supporting this effort. Please email or call us (see contact info below) to discuss this!

Contact Us

For more information about the Bill Gerrey Blind Makers Fund, application guidelines, or to discuss potential partnerships, please contact us at:

Phone: +1 (415) 345-2047
Address: 2318 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute is proud to administer the Bill Gerrey Blind Makers Fund, empowering blind makers to create a more accessible world for everyone. Join us in honoring Bill Gerrey’s legacy by supporting the innovators of tomorrow.

The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute is a registered non-profit 501(c)3 research organization.


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