Executive Director, EyeSight Foundation of Alabama
Torrey DeKeyser joined the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama (ESFA) as Executive Director in 1999 following a 20-year career in university advancement and administration within the University of Alabama System, including both the University of Alabama (her alma mater) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Ms. DeKeyser is responsible to the EyeSight Foundation governing board in all aspects of the foundation’s work. As a charitable grant making organization dedicated to serving as a catalyst for improving eyesight through education, research and access to care in Alabama, ESFA awards $2.5 million in grants annually. In 2012 the EyeSight Foundation was named Outstanding Charitable Organization by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Active in the philanthropic community, Ms. DeKeyser belongs to state, regional and national funders groups, including Alabama Giving, for which she is past-president of the Board of Directors. She served on the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF) and continues to serve on SECF’s Public Policy Committee, which she also chaired.
Within the eye care community, Ms. DeKeyser is Immediate-Past Chair of the Prevent Blindness Board of Directors, where she also has served as Secretary and as Co-Chair of its Public Health and Policy Committee. She is involved with the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research/Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, as well as the Priory in the USA of the Order of St. John and the Vision Research Funding Partnership. She has served on Sight Savers America’s Hall W. Thompson Hero for Sight Award Steering Committee since its inception.
She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, and is a past member of the American Heart Association (AHA) Circle of Red. She has worked in the past with the YWCA Purse & Passion program, the VOICES for Alabama’s Children Board of Directors, the Birmingham Women’s Committee of 100, the Birmingham Women’s Network and the United Way of Central Alabama Loaned Executive Program.
Ms. DeKeyser and her husband Armand have four sons and three grandchildren and enjoy travel, cooking and outdoor activities.
Artist: Mary Dignan
Mary Dignan was born in 1954 with Usher syndrome, an inherited disease typified by deafness at birth and blindness later in life from retinitis pigmentosa, or RP. She earned an undergraduate degree in 1976 from Santa Clara University and a law degree with honors in 1994 from McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. Her career in agriculture and water resources management policy includes newspaper reporting, federal and state legislative work, public relations and governmental liaison work, and water and environmental law.
After brain tumor surgery in 1997, she retired from her legal practice and began practicing mosaic art. Her work has been shown at San Francisco City Hall, Canadian Helen Keller Centre in Toronto, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors chambers, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, Sacramento County Law Library, Sacramento Society for the Blind, and various other public and private venues. She has shared her mosaic technique with sighted, blind and deaf-blind students in the US, Canada and India.
Her community service includes six years on the Disability Advisory Committee to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, more than a decade with Bread of Life and Spirit in the Arts (www.breadoflife.org), and five years as president of the Sacramento Chapter of Foundation Fighting Blindness. She is presently a member of the Sacramento Embarcadero Lions Club.