National Association for Visually Handicapped
Serving millions of Hard of Seeing people throughout the world

Dr. Lorraine H. Marchi, Founder & CEO Emeritus

Lorraine H. Marchi was born in San Francisco, California, the 4th generation of a family from that city.  After high school, where special interests included oratory and debate, she attended Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.  She married in 1943 and had four children.  Her oldest son and third child, a daughter, were born with albinism.

When her oldest child entered the first grade, she was informed of the lack of materials in large print for partially seeing children.

In 1952, Dr. Marchi formed the "Committee to Aid Visually Handicapped Children" and enlisted the interest of eleven San Francisco civic organizations and five boards of education, as well as ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists and educators to cooperate in the development of a program of aid. In 1957 she became the first president of the newly incorporated "Aid to Visually Handicapped" and in 1959 was named Executive Director of "National Aid to Visually Handicapped." In 1972 the name was finally changed to "National Association for Visually Handicapped," where Dr. Marchi continued in the role of Executive Director until she became CEO in 1999.

Today, after over a half century of dedicated leadership of Dr. Marchi, NAVH is recognized by the American Medical Association as a national voluntary health agency and, as such, works closely with the medical profession and related fields.

Jefferson Award

Dr. Lorraine Marchi has received the Jefferson Award for her work in raising awareness about the "hard of seeing." Jefferson Awards are administered by the American Institute for Public Service, a foundation that honors community service.

Read more - San Francisco Chronicle, January 4, 2009

Video - KPIX TV, CBS 5 San Francisco, January 8, 2009