In 1960, 13 members of the Pasadena Braille Club, led by Hadley Stephenson, had a dream to deliver quality housing and services to blind adults in the Pasadena area. By 1966, they raised the funds needed to purchase and remodel a home to create 17 furnished studio apartments for blind residents, with an array of services including three meals a day and cleaning assistance.
For 50 Years, Vista Nova residents had the support of trained therapists, as well as a team of inspired volunteers who served as readers, provided transportation, and companionship. “This was my first time attending the tournament of Roses parade. The volunteer who was with me was particularly good at describing the floats as they went by,” said Wilbur Riffle, one of the residents at Vista Nova.
The Pasadena Community Foundation has supported the Vista Nova Renaissance Community since 1973, providing grants for home furnishings, special computer equipment and building repairs. Several years ago, the Vista Nova home closed; in 2016 the funds from the sale of the property were used to establish an endowment fund that is managed by the Pasadena Community Foundation. Grants from the endowment go to organizations that support blind people in the greater Pasadena area and the eastern part of L.A. County. This endowment continues the work of the original founders by supporting to support a population with unique challenges and creates a lasting legacy.