January 2023 Minute Message


Fellow Federationists:


Happy New Year!  This year has already been quite busy for the affiliate.  We have just successfully completed another Virtual Week in Annapolis, where more than 80 members attended 188 appointments with our elected state representatives to advance our legislative priorities.  We have tremendous momentum on our initiatives and will use that momentum to get our priorities to the finish line this session.  We also held a multi-day leadership seminar for 35 current and emerging Federation leaders within our state.  As we move toward longer days and warmer weather, we have a great deal of exciting activities and programs ahead.  Please read on for information.


Success in Annapolis!

The 2023 session of the Maryland General Assembly began on January 10, and we brought the collective action as soon as the session began.  Our Legislative Advocacy Team was on sight from nearly the first moment the gavel dropped on the new session.  We held our NFB of Maryland Virtual Week in Annapolis, which took place between January 19 and 26, 2023 via Zoom.  We met with nearly all 188 Delegates and Senators early in the session in order to maximize the time we have to push our issues through both chambers.  More than 80 Federationists participated in a tremendously successful Virtual Week in Annapolis.


Our four priorities are:

  • Implementing an electronic ballot return system for voting, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Ben Brooks and in the House by Delegate Jessica Feldmark
  • Expanding housing protections to include retired guide dogs sponsored in the Senate by Senator Mary Dulaney James and in the House by Delegate Mary Lehman
  • Ensuring the availability of accessible prescription drug labels sponsored in the House by Delegate Guyton
  • Ensuring funding in the budget for the Center for Excellence in Non-visual Access


The fact sheets are available at https://nfbmd.org/AnnapolisWeek2023.


Washington Seminar Is Coming!

On January 30, Maryland will join Federationists in person from throughout the country to let Congress know about the priorities for blind Americans. The three issues that we will discuss are:

  • Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act
  • Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act
  • Blind Americans Return to Work Act

You may read the Washington Seminar fact sheets by visiting

https://nfb.org/washington-seminar or via Newsline.  The Great Gathering In will take place at 5:00PM on Monday, January 30, 2023 at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel.  Maryland will be visiting our Congressional Delegation on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 in person on the Hill. 


Senior Seminar: My Eyes Don’t Work but My Brain Still Does!

The NFB of Maryland Seniors Division is hosting a senior seminar entitled: My Eyes Don’t Work but My Brain Still Does: Giving Up Your Car Keys Is Not the End of Your Independence.  Please join our conversation to explore the emotional decision to give up driving.  Discover how to manage your life when you are no longer the one behind the wheel.  This conference-call based conversation will take place on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 from 7:00 – 8:30PM.  Participation is free and all are welcome.  Participants may access the seminar by calling 339-209-4083.  For questions or more information, contact NFBMD Senior Issues Division President Marguerite Woods at 443-271-1668 or mwoods719@gmail.com.


Get ready for Houston in 2023!

The NFB 2023 National Convention will take place from July 1 – 6, 2023 in Houston, Texas.  The convention will take place at the Hilton Americas – Houston Hotel, and you may make your reservation by calling 1-800-236-2905.  The overflow hotel is the Marriott Marquis Houston.  To reserve a room at the overflow hotel, call 1-877-622-3056. The rooming rate is $119 per night plus tax at both hotels.  Preregistration for the convention will open on March 1 and will close May 31, 2023. 


First time national convention attendees may apply for the Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship, which is a grant the NFB provides to people who have not attended a national convention in person previously.  The deadline is April 15, 2023.  Visit this link for more information on how to apply.  https://nfb.org/get-involved/national-convention/kenneth-jernigan-convention-scholarship


Those from Maryland who are seeking financial assistance should speak with their chapter president to find out what assistance their local chapter may have available.  The affiliate’s Financial Assistance Application Form will go live on February 1, 2023 and must be submitted by March 31, 2023.  Please note that though the Financial Assistance Committee will give due consideration to every application, the affiliate has limited resources and is unable to grant every request.  Priority will be given to those who have not attended a national convention in the past.  For questions about the Financial Assistance Application Program, please reach out to your chapter president or me at President@nfbmd.org.


Basket and Bag Bingo is Coming!

Would you like to win over $4,000 in prizes? Would you like to play 23 games of BINGO? Snacks and raffles will also be available. Join us at NFBMD Basket and Bag Bingo on March 10, 2023 in Catonsville.  Buy your tickets early because we always sell out.

We are busy arranging and filling baskets and procuring bags (purses). We need financial contributions to help with these purchases. Please let us know whether you would like to sponsor a basket or bag for $100. All contributions of any amount are welcome.  You may also purchase your ticket for $25.  Please purchase your ticket online at https://nfbmd.org/bingo. For questions or to purchase your ticket via check, contact Sharon Maneki at nfbmdsm@gmail.com.


do You Feel Lucky?

The NFBMD spring raffle is upon us. During the month of May, you have the opportunity to win $50 Sunday through Friday, or $100 on Saturday. Purchase a 3-digit number raffle ticket for $5. You will be the only one who has this number. Tickets are available from chapter presidents and affiliate Board Members.  Help us sell all 1,000 tickets! 


Remember to Pay Your 2023 Dues!

NFBMD maintains an online portal for individuals to pay their chapter and division dues.  We are asking members to pay their 2023 dues as soon as possible so we can ensure that our rolls are accurate for the annual national membership data call.  We are asking individuals to pay their 2023 dues by January 31, 2023.


Individuals may use NFBMD’s Dues Portal to pay their 2023 annual dues and/or lifetime membership dues for those chapters that have lifetime membership.  The portal lists all NFBMD chapters and divisions and their dues amounts.  Individuals may pay for as many chapters and divisions as they wish.  One dollar will be added to chapter and division annual dues amounts for processing those dues payments online.  The portal is located at http://nfbmd.org/dues.  Alternatively, individuals may mail a check to their chapter or division treasurer.


NFB and NFBMD Scholarship Programs

The National Federation of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland each administer a separate scholarship program for post-secondary students.  The deadline to apply for an NFB scholarship is March 31, 2023, and the deadline to apply for an NFBMD Scholarship is April 15, 2023.


National Scholarship Program: Each year, the NFB awards 30 merit-based scholarships totaling $240,000. 

  • Each scholarship recipient will receive $8,000 and additional prizes.
  • Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership, and community service.
  • The 30 scholarship finalists are announced in the spring and attend the NFB National Convention, where they are mentored by blind role models.
  • Application materials must be submitted (online or postmarked) by 11:59PM on March 31, 2023.
  • To be eligible, applicants must:
    • Be legally blind in both eyes;
    • Reside in the United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico;
    • Be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time, post-secondary course of study in a degree program at a U.S. institution in the Fall of 2023 (one scholarship may be awarded to an individual who works full-time and attends school part-time);
    • Be age 18 before July 1, 2023; and
    • Attend the entire National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind (and all scholarship activities) in Houston, Texas from July 1 through 6, 2023 (scholarship finalists will receive convention grants).
  • To apply, submit an application using the online application system at https://scholarships.nfb.org/; or


State Scholarship Program: The NFB of Maryland will award up to four scholarships of $4,000 each as part of the John T. McCraw Scholarship Program. NFBMD may award a scholarship to a former McCraw scholarship recipient. 

  • Scholarships are merit-based and awarded based on academic achievement, community involvement, and leadership.
  • Application materials must be submitted (online or postmarked) by 11:59PM on April 15, 2023.
  • To be eligible, applicants must:
    • Be legally blind in both eyes;
    • reside in Maryland or be pursuing post-secondary studies at a school in Maryland;
    • be age 18 prior to July 1, 2023;
    • Be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time or part-time, post-secondary course of study in a degree program in the Fall of 2023 and Spring of 2024 (priority will be given to full-time students); and
    • Attend the entire National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Houston, Texas from July 1 through 6, 2023 and the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland in Hunt Valley, Maryland from November 10 – 12, 2023 (scholarship finalists will receive convention grants).
  • To apply:

Download, complete, and email or mail in a hard copy application form by visiting: http://nfbmd.org/scholarship.


Update to NFBMD Policy on In-Person Gatherings

On December 27, 2022, the NFB of Maryland Board of Directors adopted changes to the Policy on In-Person Gatherings, which is applicable to all events and activities.  You can review the updated policy by visiting: https://nfbmd.org/eventpolicy


Important Upcoming Dates

  • January 30, 2023 – Great Gathering In, Washington, DC
  • January 31, 2023 – NFBMD Day on the Hill, Washington, DC
  • February 15, 2023 – Senior Seminar: My Eyes Don’t Work but My Brain Still Does, Conference Line
  • March 1, 2023 – Preregistration opens for NFB National Convention
  • March 10, 2023 – Basket Bingo, Catonsville, Maryland
  • March 31, 2023 – Deadline for National Scholarship Applications.
  • March 31, 2023 – Deadline for applications for NFBMD Financial Assistance for National Convention
  • April 15, 2023 – Deadline for NFBMD Scholarship Applications.
  • April 15, 2023 – Deadline for Jernigan Fund applications for National Convention
  • May 31, 2023 – Deadline to Preregister for NFB Annual Convention, Houston, Texas
  • July 1 – 6, 2023 – NFB National Convention, Houston, Texas
  • Summer 2023 (date TBD) – In Person NFB BELL Academy, Baltimore, Maryland
  • August 4, 2023 – NFBMD Crab Feast, Parkville, Maryland
  • October 1 – 31, 2023 – Blind Equality Achievement Month
  • November 10 – 12, 2023 – NFBMD Annual Convention, Hunt Valley, Maryland
  • December 3 – 10, 2023 – NFBMD Blind Cruising 2023, Bahamas