Virginia A. Jacko
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
After a national search, Virginia A. Jacko was named the first blind CEO of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in 2005. As CEO, Virginia has an outstanding record: Miami Lighthouse grew to serve 22,000 program participants in 2018 and the organization’s Charity Navigator rating moved from 2-stars to 4-stars. It has maintained that rating for 12 consecutive years, placing it in the nation’s top 1% most effective among the 9,000 other nonprofits evaluated annually.
Several programs and services have been introduced under her leadership. Virginia founded the Lighthouse Learning Center for Children™ and led the acquisition of the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program. She also initiated a music production/sound engineering program, as well as a Low Vision Center for seniors affected by age-related eye disease.
A strong advocate for web accessibility for the blind, Virginia was commissioned to write an article entitled “Let’s Give the Blind Better Access to Online Learning,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 8, 2011. She subsequently developed web accessibility consulting, led by two computer scientists who are blind, to ensure websites are ADA compliant.
Awards and accolades include Lions Clubs International 100th Anniversary President’s Leadership Award and being named a Distinguished Alumni by the College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University.