Dorothy Wenberg Donor of the Year

The 2022 Donor of the Year is Barre Butler! 

The Dorothy Wenberg Donor of the Year recognizes an individual who has made a transformational impact on the organization through their gifts. The award is named for Dorothy Wenberg, a donor who bequeathed $6,000,000 to ABVI which secured our future and continues to open doors for us. This year, the award goes to Barre Butler who has been instrumental to ABVI’s transformation and growth over the past two decades. Through his personal giving, corporate sponsorships and advocacy for our cause to his peers, Barre has made an invaluable impact on our organization, and stands alongside us as we continue to grow.

Letter from Barre Butler 

About twenty years ago, I received a solicitation in the mail from The Association for the Blind, an organization unknown to me. As with most solicitations by mail, my first instinct was to trash it. However, before I could trash it, my second instinct trumped my first.

I’m not sure what it was. Maybe God was reminding me of my fear of blindness. Maybe God was reminding me it was time to do for others instead of myself. Maybe God was reminding me I could make a difference. Thinking back, I am sure it was all three. So, I wrote a check for $500 and mailed it back to The Association for the Blind. As soon as I did this, I felt a true sense of joy. It wasn’t the short-term sense of joy I had felt when giving to a politician, to a school, or to a social organization. This joy was profound and addictive. 

The following week I received a phone call from Robert (Bob) Prioleau, Chairman of The Association’s Board. Bob said it was rare to receive a first-time donation of $500 from a mailed solicitation. He said the blind must have some importance in my life, and he wanted to know if it was important enough to join The Association’s Board. I replied I would be honored. 

I have given much thought to what it must be like to live in a blurred or dark world. I see those who cannot see. I do not pity them, but I do want to help them. At this year’s fundraising gala, I was asked to speak on behalf of The Fund-A-Need program. I asked the audience to close their eyes for sixty seconds. I asked them to imagine they had just lost their sight. I told them to imagine their fear, their anxiety. I told them they didn’t know what to do, and even if they did, they wouldn’t know how. I then asked, how will you eat your dinner and drink your wine tonight without making a mess? How will you get to the restroom? How will you get home? How will you know you are safe? How will you know what time you go to bed and what time you wake up? How will you put toothpaste on your toothbrush and brush your hair neatly? How will you dress yourself in the right clothes? How will you do anything that was so simple and easy the day before you lost your sight? 

Then, I asked them to open their eyes. Lastly, I told them, if you WERE blind AND you WERE a client of ABVI, you would know how to do all those tasks and so much more. What better way to give than to give the ability to live a good life without eyesight? 

At the beginning of this letter, I mentioned maybe God was reminding me it was time to do for others instead of myself. I also mentioned the joy of giving to The Association for the Blind was profound and addictive. The easiest way to give is when it makes you feel good, too. There’s an old saying, “Give till it hurts.” I prefer, “Give till it heals.”

Sincerely,

Barre Butler

To learn more about this award, contact Bryson Young at  byoung@abvisc.org or (843) 203-6037.

Description: Barre Butler speaking at our 2022 annual Noir gala.

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