Q&A: Touch Our World campaign

A conversation with Kathy Sheehan

Boy wearing glasses touching a tactile globe, and headshot of Sheehan

What made Perkins decide to launch this campaign?

We offer a lot on campus, in the community and around the world that is dependent on philanthropic dollars. Many of the things that make Perkins Perkins – the cutting-edge technology, the Horticultural Center, the extraordinary teaching staff – we couldn’t do without philanthropic dollars. The campaign is also a way of advocating for our highest priorities. For us to begin to meet the needs of the 4.5 million children around the world who aren’t in school simply because they are blind, we need to raise significant resources to ramp up our programming.

Why is it called “Touch Our World”?

Perkins, in many ways, was a hidden jewel. Even people here in the Boston area had no idea how much we serve people beyond the campus. The name is intended to introduce people to the great range of impact that Perkins has.

What are the campaign’s main priorities?

First, anything that impacts the education of students on-campus – that’s teacher support, technology and more. Second is community, the population we serve that goes beyond our regular school-year students. That’s the Outreach Program, the Perkins Library and more. Third is international, our work both through Perkins International and Perkins Products.

Where does the campaign stand now?

We’re at $115 million and our goal is $130 million by the end of our next fiscal year. We’re really going to give it our all-out effort and achieve this goal.

Are you excited about approaching the end of the Campaign?

We’re all excited because we’re already starting to see how the campaign has made a difference. Take the renovated Lower School for example, which now houses the Patti and Mike Cataruzolo Independent Living Apartments. To hear the first group of students who lived in those apartments talk about what they learned in preparation of living independently at college this fall is just really gratifying.

What would you like to say to campaign donors?

You have transformed Perkins. You have transformed this campus, and our programs beyond this campus. Thanks to you, we are now able to touch so many more lives around the globe.