75 Year History

Historical Highlights of Lighthouse for the
Blind of the Palm Beaches

1946 – The West Palm Beach Lions Club, Inc. founds Lions Industries for the Blind, a charitable nonprofit organization with its primary function to provide employment for the blind.

Bessemer Properties donates a 100’ x 200’ lot, and Thrift, Inc. of Palm Beach donates $10,000 for a building at 7810 South Dixie Highway. Seven clients received services when the doors opened in September, 1946.

1950's - Sunshine Kindergarten opens.

1965 – The agency associates with National Industries for the Blind to strengthen its Industrial Center, gain federal contracts and expand employment opportunities.

1968 – Summer enrichment program for preteens is established.

1971 – Adjustment Training Program for older blind persons is inaugurated - one of the firsts in the country.

1975 – Facilities of the Lighthouse are doubled from 8,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet.

1976 – Vocational services are added to help blind and visually impaired individuals succeed at jobs.

1978 – The agency’s name is changed to Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches to reflect its broad range of services.

1979 – The Preschool Program (ages birth to 5) - the first  in Florida - grows from a summer program to a full-time; year-round service of the Lighthouse.

1988 – Low Vision Services are added, with clinics conducted by a specially trained optometrist and Lighthouse staff.

1989 – 1991 – The Lighthouse facility adds another 11,600 square feet, along with remodeling, to accommodate the needs of the area’s rapidly growing population.

1993 – 1995 – Program expansion continues, including Technology Training Center Special Equipment Grant Program, Computer Learning Program for Children and Support Groups.

1995 – Aids & Appliance Store opens, and an Outreach Program begins to provide adjustment training to older blind persons in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties.

1996 – Outreach Assistance for children and young adults is added to Lighthouse services. Lighthouse celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

2008 – Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches merges with Gulfstream Goodwill Industries and relocates to 1710 Tiffany Drive East.

2011 – In partnership with StingRay Outfitters, the Annual Lighthouse Ladies Fishing Tournament begins a
6 year run – raising almost a $100,000.


2012 – 2019 - Lighthouse partners with Kretzer Music Foundation to present David Crohan, a blind piano virtuoso, for the Music for the Mind Series.

2020 – Lighthouse separates from Gulfstream Goodwill and moves to a new location next to the JFK Medical Center North Campus.   

2021 – The organization celebrates 75 years of providing solutions for independence for the blind and visually impaired. After 42 years, Lighthouse rebrands with a new logo and tagline.

Original Lighthouse building circa late 1940's

Original Lighthouse building circa late 1940's


Transportation for the visually impaired in the 1950's

Transportation for the visually impaired in the 1950's

Sunshine Kindergarten for the visually impaired in the 1950's

Sunshine Kindergarten for the visually impaired in the 1950's

Woman working on a loom

Lighthouse provided industrial employment for the blind and visually impaired from the 1950's to the early 2000's.

Original building with bulldozer in front

1975 expansion of the original building

Two women and a man playing with two young girls

Preschool and Blind Babies Programs become full-time services in 1979

Dr Gartner and Mary Allen with a patient

Low Vision services are added in 1988

Lighthouse building after second expansion in 1991

Lighthouse building in 1991 after second expansion

New Lighthouse logo with 75th anniversary