Category Archives: National Convention

Join Us in Orlando: the 2017 McDonald Fellowship Program

The 2017 NFB National Convention is an experience you do not want to miss.
Many of those who have attended our national NFB conventions are amazed at how meeting and interacting with over 3000 other blind and low vision convention attendees has positively changed their lives. They not only learn how the problems of vision loss can be overcome, but also experience the confidence that comes with solutions.

Robert and Marian McDonald selflessly contributed to our Virginia affiliate to further the progress and better the lives of those who are blind, visually impaired, and low vision in Virginia. In their honor, we recognize the personal benefits that come to people who attend a national convention for the first time. In their memory, the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia (NFBV) continues their legacy of education and empowerment to Virginia’s blind citizens.

We anticipate awarding fellowships to assist each recipient with costs of attending our 2017 NFB National Convention to be held in Orlando, FL, from July 10- July 15. Please note: The banquet ends late in the evening of Saturday, July 15 and fellowship winners are expected to attend the banquet so return travel must occur on Sunday, July 16 or later. This event will take place at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

The McDonald Fellowship program was established in 1998 to assist those who are legally blind and have never attended a convention of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) or those who have not attended in years and wish to come to a convention this year.

Federationists are welcome and encouraged to apply for both the Virginia specific McDonald Fellowship and a national Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship. Details on the Jernigan Scholarship program will be emailed separately.

We will link each of our fellowship winners with mentors who will assist them in getting the most out of their national convention experience. McDonald Fellowship winners are expected to attend the entire NFB convention and share their experiences by addressing our 2017 NFB of Virginia state convention.

Deadline for applications for the McDonald Fellowship is Saturday, April 15, 2017. Winners will be announced May 15, 2017.

Your application should be in the form of a letter delivered via electronic mail. There is no specific form for the application. Applicants should write a brief letter outlining reasons why they should be considered for a Fellowship and the letter must include:

  • A) Name, Address, phone and email, contact information
  • B) Chapter or other connection with the affiliate
  • C) How you will benefit from the experience
  • D) How you have participated with your chapter or the affiliate in the
    past year
  • E) Any other pertinent details

In addition, you are required to contact your Chapter President or an Affiliate Board Member for a letter of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are due by Saturday, April 15, 2017.

Applications or questions about the Fellowship program should be sent to Mary Durbin, Chairman, McDonald Fellowship Committee,

or by phone at 757-431-1205 (home) or 757-472-2495 (Cell).

Our committee wants to help you make 2017 the year you attend our national convention. The convention will be even better because you were there.

  • Mary Durbin
  • McDonald Fellowship Chair
  • 700 Biltmore Drive
  • Virginia Beach, VA 23454
  • 757-431-1205 (home)
  • 757-472-2495 (cell)
  • 757-962-3913 (fax)

Learn about our McDonald Fellowship Award

Has your attendance at the NFB National Convention ever crossed your mind?

Whether it is for the networking and fundraising opportunities your business or chapter can gain or for the constant feeling of camaraderie that is displayed year after year, the National Federation of the Blind’s 2016 National Convention is guaranteed to be an event our community can benefit from. Sometimes when looking at the financial demands that come with attending this event, many people may get discouraged because it may prove to be too steep, but there is definitely a way to alleviate that feeling.

Join the Virginia Association of Blind Students and NFBV Board at our informational session to explain and encourage you all to apply for our affiliate’s McDonald Fellowship Award. The McDonald Fellowship award is a grant that assists an individual in attending their first national convention and also enrolls the winner in a mentoring session where they can get assistance at the convention with attending all seminars and events that will make sure that they get the most out of their first convention experience. If anyone has ever attended the NFBV State Conventions in the fall, they would know that conventions are an experience full of opportunities to learn about an endless amount of interesting facts, products, and services; and the national convention does not disappoint with this opportunity. Some of the topics covered in our informational conference call will include:

  • The application process for the award.
  • The existence of the Jernigan Award, a national scholarship
    equivalent to the McDonald Fellowship in purpose.
  • The mentoring aspect of the McDonald Fellowship winners.
  • Testimonials from past winners of the award and what their
    convention experience was like.

The conference call will begin promptly at 8pm and will be facilitated by Student Division president Kimberly Valko, board member Robert Parsons, and McDonald Fellowship chair Sandy Halverson. For more information on this call and what the McDonald Fellowship has to offer, please join us on the conference call:

  • Wednesday, February 17, 2016
  • 8:00 P.M.
  • Phone Number: (641) 715-3850
  • Pin Number: 184 934

We hope that the prospect of attending National Convention with us will entice you to join us and hopefully submit an application to attend this irreplaceable experience.