Dorothy Wenberg Donor of the Year

The 2021 Donor of the Year is Joe Waring! 

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 Joe Waring who has gone above and beyond, both through his personal giving and in his efforts to secure funding for us in a year when we needed it most. We asked Joe to reflect on what motivates him to propel our mission through his transformational giving.

Letter from Joe Waring 

It is sometimes hard to process how much has transpired in the 18 months since COVID first vaulted to global headlines. The repercussions have permeated every aspect of our society and unfortunately are likely to reverberate for the foreseeable future, perhaps even forever. Each one of us has witnessed or experienced firsthand the pain, the despair, and the utter frustration caused by COVID. At moments, the challenge has felt overwhelming. But whenever times have gotten tough, we have seen an unexpected act of kindness or heard about a touching display of compassion or read about the resolve of an organization unwilling to quit on those it has pledged to serve.

ABVI, like so many charitable organizations across the country, has provided a critical element of humanity amidst this time of adversity. The organization showed remarkable courage after embarking on an ambitious plan to provide access to the visually impaired across the Tri-County area in late 2019. It opened the doors to its new Ladson facility on March 2, 2020, just days before a state of emergency was declared by the governor. Trying to navigate issues about funding, staffing, providing quality outreach, it would have been easy to get paralyzed and do nothing. But ABVI did the opposite. It chose to act. It calmly went about its business determined to help those who desperately needed its services and the compassion of others. And by taking care of the community around it, in turn took care of ABVI so its mission could continue.

If you’re reading this, you are likely invested in the wellbeing of our Tri-County community. To those that have supported ABVI, thank you. Our community has always been self-reliant and proud to be the solution to the issues that arise locally. For such a reason, I have been honored to serve on the Board of Directors and help steward a legacy of Charlestonians helping Charlestonians that goes back many generations, and I am honored to be recognized as the 2021 Dorothy Wenberg Donor of the Year.

In closing, I see a great future for ABVI as it continues to step into the void and provide critical care for those who are blind or visually impaired. COVID has made us all cognizant of how important kindness and compassion are and this is a deserving organization for each of us to provide a much needed act of charity.


Joe Waring

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

Photo Description: Award recipient Colonel Bernhard Karl Jantzen stands between ABVI CEO Courtney P. Plotner and ABVI Board President Clay W. Hershey during the first Lifetime Visionary Circle Induction Ceremony.