President & CEO, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind
As President and CEO of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Virginia Jacko is committed to ensuring the blind and visually impaired, low vision seniors and financially disadvantaged schoolchildren without resources for eye care, regardless of age, socio-economic status or ethnicity, have equitable access to education, blindness prevention programs, and vision rehabilitation training. She conceived and implemented a 50/50 pre-kindergarten for blind and sighted children, which was showcased in the Active Learner, HighScope Journal for Early Educators,” Seeing without Sight,” by Betsy Evans, pp. 14-27, Spring 2019. She has been featured in national publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Saturday Evening Post, and Ability Magazine, is the author and principal investigator of numerous peer-reviewed archival journal publications, including “Bringing Low Vision Assessments and Interventions to Underserved Seniors Affected by Age-Related Eye Disease,” British Journal of Visual Impairment, December 2019, Volume 38, Number 1, pp. 15-23, and was named Distinguished Alumni by the College of Health and Human Sciences and the HHS Alumni Association, Purdue University. She is a national expert in website and distance learning accessibility for people with vision impairment, having been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, TIME, NPR, Forbes and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Before relocating to Miami for her vision rehabilitation in 2001, she was a successful financial executive at Purdue University where she served for 22 years, including 12 years directing financial affairs for the President and Provost. She applies her acumen in financial and program development, governmental and donor relations, accreditation and compliance arenas as President and CEO of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc., President of the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program, LLC, and President of Miami Lighthouse Academy, LLC. During her 17-year tenure as President and CEO at Miami Lighthouse, the number of program participants increased fiftyfold, net assets increased fivefold and contributions increased sevenfold. During her term as CEO Miami Lighthouse has gained recognition as a national Center of Excellence through professional publications and presentations.