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Griffin Pinkow:  Enabling the Visually Impaired to Live Fulfilling Lives

Griffin Pinkow: Enabling the Visually Impaired to Live Fulfilling Lives

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have one more interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with Griffin Pinkow, the founder and CEO of Foreseeable Future Foundation, who is working on UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being. Are you ready to be inspired?

Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Griffin! What challenge are you addressing with the Foreseeable Future Foundation?

Griffin: Glad to be here today, Spiffy! The mission of the Foreseeable Future Foundation (FFF) is to enable the visually impaired to live fulfilling lives through sport and recreation.

Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?

Griffin: I did this because many people told me not to, and that gave me the drive even more to start it and see what happened. If I listened to anyone telling me I couldn't do something my whole life, then I would not be where I am today. From personal experiences and talking to people from the community, I saw there was a need to start something like Foreseeable.

Spiffy: I love your attitude! Can you tell me how you and FFF are working towards a more equitable world?

Griffin: Well, members of our community are the same as everyone else. We aim to give them the same opportunity as their sighted peers to experience an active lifestyle no matter the visual impairment.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative and the impact it makes on your community.

Griffin: We have supported over 1000 visually impaired and blind kids, veterans, and adults through our funding program in order to give them the tools to participate in a sport. Another big accomplishment so far is our new Self Advocacy program. We are creating certain materials and content in this program for young, visually-impaired people in order to give them the resources to be able to advocate for themselves in their local community whether it's with a PE teacher, a coach, or anyone else.

Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?

Griffin: When I was in college, they didn't really have the proper resources in order to accommodate my needs being a student with a visual impairment. Being that it was my first year of college, that made it very difficult and it felt like I was falling into a hole. After working with a certain individual at the university, we figured out a plan on how to get what I needed to be able to do the work and be a successful student. I was then able to succeed, and graduate in four years much like every other student my age. I realized then that I had to advocate for myself and be firm with what I needed.

Spiffy: What is something you've unexpectedly learned from someone recently?

Griffin: One of my good friends is Nicholas Stone and he is the owner of Bluestone Lane which is a coffee shop/coffee house and they are all over the US. Through my friendship with Nick, I've learned a lot regarding starting an organization or business and, most importantly, about how to really grow it. I learned all of the inner workings of what it takes to really grow a business, even during something as crazy as the pandemic. He is also always so positive no matter what is going on and it is really inspiring. You can always be much more successful with a positive attitude.

Spiffy: Absolutely! So, Griffin, Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience before I let you go?

Griffin: I was doing a pottery class in NYC with my mom and it was the last session of the time-period of the class and this gentleman said hello to me in the class and I said hello back. The next time I saw Paul, he said he was really sorry, and I asked what was wrong. He then told me that he had been wanting to ask me for months about my challenge and that he was afraid to ask me about my visual impairment because he didn't know what to say or how to say it and that he was sorry he didn't say something sooner. This compared to Nicholas Stone, who when I first met him, it was at a gym. He referenced how I was working out harder than anyone else and asked me if I wanted to train with him. He treated me like an equal. My impairment didn't matter.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Griffin—it’s been an honor!

Griffin Pinkow suffers from retinitis pigmentosa which is a retinal degenerative disease. He is the Founder and CEO of Foreseeable Future Foundation whose mission is to enable the visually impaired to live fulfilling lives and to increase public awareness of challenges faced by the blind. They are committed to bringing the sighted and sightless community together to build one network that is mutually beneficial and enriching for all. (Nominated by Tim Fleschner. First published on the Ladderworks website on April 1, 2022.)

© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.