The Lavelle Fund for the Blind Announces an Executive Director Transition


Andrew S. Fisher (Photo by Lighthouse Guild, Photographer: Ben Asen)

Susan Olivo

(L) Andrew S. Fisher (Photo by Lighthouse Guild, Photographer: Ben Asen), (R) Susan Olivo

November 7, 2019

New York City — The Lavelle Fund for the Blind’s Board of Directors and Board President Daniel M. Callahan announce that Andrew S. Fisher, PhD, Executive Director, will retire as of March 2020. The Board is pleased to announce that Susan Olivo, now Executive Director of the Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, will succeed Andy as the Fund’s Executive Director.

Andy began his tenure as the Fund’s founding Executive Director in 2000 and has overseen the growth of the Fund’s assets from $79 million to more than $125 million. To date, the Fund has distributed a total of some $80 million in grants. Andy has guided the Fund from its inception and has directed it through nearly two decades of growth, professionalization, and expanding grantmaking reach and impact. From the outset, his central goal has been to honor both the philanthropic mission of the Fund’s founder, the Lavelle School for the Blind, and the imperative of achieving maximum social impact per grant dollar for people who are visually impaired or at risk of vision loss. Throughout, he has worked with the Fund’s Board to develop, implement, monitor, and refine appropriate grantmaking strategies as well as strong governance, operational, financial, and personnel policies and procedures. He takes special pride in having helped recruit and develop an exceptionally capable and dedicated staff.

Over the years, Andy has served on the board of a number of national and regional nonprofit groups, charitable foundations, and philanthropic support organizations. Before joining the Lavelle Fund, he worked in senior program positions at the Wallace and Hayden Foundations, as Vice President for Philanthropy at the Chase Manhattan Bank, and as a college and prep school instructor. He holds an MBA from Yale and a doctorate in English Literature from Brandeis.

Susan Olivo is an experienced foundation executive with a passion for serving individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  Under her stewardship, Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation (PFS) grew from a small, localized funder to a respected leader in both local and national grant making in the vision field.  She is actively involved in the New York philanthropic community, having served on the board of Philanthropy New York and as the Co-Chair of its Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy.  Before joining PFS, she worked as a national publishing and financial services executive.  Susan holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Chicago.

The Lavelle Fund’s vision constituencies and the field of visual impairment and blindness will miss Andy’s caring professionalism and passion for his work. He recently said, “I have been blessed to work every day with incredibly talented and committed people: our staff and Board members, our grantees and college scholarship program partners, and our colleagues in philanthropy and government. I am truly grateful to my Board and staff for their exemplary dedication and to our grantees for delivering so effectively for the people and communities we serve. I also know that, with Susan Olivo’s appointment, the Fund’s future will be bright indeed.”