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Grant From Ernest & Anna Ritter Family Endowment Benefits Tipton County Students With Vision Impairments

By Jane Marie Woodruff on 12/7/18 3:34 PM

MILLINGTON, TENN. — This holiday season, the Ritter Family Endowment has given Tipton County students the gift of visual aid by awarding a $10,000 grant to Visualizing Hope. The grant will fund the purchase of computer software called Fusion, which aids students who suffer from vision impairment.

“More than 500,000 school-age children suffer from visual impairments,” said Hannah Fowler, founder of Visualizing Hope. “The current accommodations that are provided for students are only given on a case-to-case basis, which can result in lower performance levels.”

Fowler, who started the nonprofit organization in 2015, said her mission is to allow students with visual impairments to attain effective accommodations throughout their learning experience.

“The new high-tech accommodations available with this software will help students become more efficient and succeed in the classroom,” said Fowler. “Now, thanks to the Ritter Family Endowment, students of the Tipton County School System will have equal access to an effective learning environment.”

The advanced software will be used for several purposes, including visual enhancements, screen magnification, screen reading functionality and more.

“One of the great things about being a 5th-generation, family-owned company is the deep connections shared with the communities we serve,” said Susan Christian, Ritter Communications VP of Marketing and Ritter Endowment committee member. “This grant will play an important role in the learning environment for visually impaired students in Tipton County, and we’re proud to be able to give back to our community in this way.”

The grant is particularly meaningful for Fowler, since it will benefit her alma mater. She launched Visualizing Hope after graduating from Tipton County School Systems in 2013, where she learned of her own visual impairments and how certain accommodations could be beneficial to her. Today, her organization helps spread the word of assistive technology to aid students, provide assistance and increase accessibility.

The company’s overall goal is to grow and eventually provide this software not only to schools in the local area, but also to expand across the state.

The Ritter Family Endowment was created to assist the Ritter family and its subsidiaries – E. Ritter & Company, Ritter Communications and Ritter Agribusiness – in carrying out charitable activities. The mission of the Endowment is to support and strengthen the communities they serve by providing resources, leadership and necessary collaboration to meet local needs. 

The Ritter Family Endowment specifically focuses on meeting needs in the area of hunger relief/nutritional awareness, digital literacy/public education, affordable housing and healthcare. Previous Ritter Family Endowment grants include a gift to the Munford Fire Department to provide life-saving equipment and to Tipton County Schools to purchase 45 computers that students utilized to fill out FAFSA (Federal Application for Free Student Aid) and Tennessee Promise tuition assistance program applications that are only available online. 

About Ritter Communications:

Ritter Communications, founded in Marked Tree, Arkansas and headquartered in Jonesboro, Arkansas, began providing local phone service in 1906. Today, Ritter serves 64 communities and more than 45,000 customers in northeast and north central Arkansas, southeast Missouri and west Tennessee with advanced voice and data services, TV, high speed Internet, security and hosted solutions typically found only in major metropolitan areas. Ritter invests heavily in the communities it serves by deploying proven, best in class infrastructure and technology while coupling it with a world-class customer focused experience. To stay connected, visit facebook.com/rittercommunications or rittercommunications.com.

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