The Checkered Eye Project (CEP) is a Not For Profit Corporation, as of August 2021. It was originally founded as a business and is now in the process of applying for status as a registered charity.
The Project was launched in 2000 by Libby Thaw, a stay at home mother in Port Elgin, Ontario. Living with low vision herself, Thaw noticed an unmet need for a hands free identifier that could also be discreet if need be, and designed one.
When requests for support for the necessary awareness effort were declined by service agencies for the blind in Canada, Thaw decided to go ahead on her own.
Funding for the project is provided by Thaw, with a small income coming from the sale of checkered eyes.
While a few retail stores offer checkered eyes, many of the “outlets” are people who wanted to help by making checkered eyes available in their communities.
In cooperative awareness efforts e in the US, New Zealand, Switzerland, Thailand, and most recently Italy, the process is largely in the hands of people with low vision. Collaborations with chapters of the Rotary Club have also boosted our efforts.
Hoping to enlist chambers of commerce and eye care specialists, the CEP is slowly gaining awareness and partners in the education process.