In 2020, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) received a $75,000 Seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. With this funding, the CNIB was able to support participants in their goals to get active through a pilot project called EmpowerPlay. 

“Congratulations to the CNIB on receiving this OTF grant,” said Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne. “This funding has changed people’s lives, allowing them to take part in their communities more completely. Throughout its history, CNIB has worked to support people with sight loss to live as full participants in our society. This partnership with OTF is a continuation of that mission. Thank you to both CNIB and OTF!”

This pilot project aimed to test a goal-focused, process-driven approach to increasing physical activity among the sight loss community. Select participants in Ontario who wanted to make positive changes to their physical activity and lifestyle were invited to take part in the program. During the program, the group was able to participate in recreational events, and received coaching and other forms of personalized support to help them reach their physical activity goals.

Thanks to this generous grant, Ontarians with sight loss were able to access important funding and resources that enabled them to live healthier and more active lifestyles despite challenges that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions.

“I joined EmpowerPlay to not only play basketball again but to change my life. I gained the tools and resources to reclaim a past love. In eight months…I have gone from being overweight and inactive to fit and healthy due in large to my participation in this program,” says Ian Masterman, EmpowerPlay participant. “EmpowerPlay is the best, most impactful thing that has happened to my physical health in years. It has changed everything, including my confidence and feelings of self-worth.”

Thank you, Ontario Trillium Foundation, for changing what it means to be blind for people with sight loss across the province.