IRIS Delivers Access To Information

IRIS is a free radio reading service that reads print information aloud to over 11,000 print-disabled listeners throughout Iowa. Volunteers sit down in front of an IRIS microphone and read aloud from their local newspapers each day. The readings are heard on custom receivers that are provided to our listeners at no cost to them. 



The Stein Family Challenge: 200Radios!

Every gift will be MATCHED until we reach our goal!

Our basic IRIS custom radio costs $40. Last year, we sent out over 200 radios to new listeners at NO cost to them. 

The Family of Simma Stein (one of our original 1989 volunteers) has provided a generous match to YOUR donations until we reach our goal to buy 200 units. 

Whether it’s a Monthly Friends of IRIS contribution or a One Time contribution, we appreciate your partnership with the Stein Family in keeping access to information Simple, Equal and Free. 



Mary Ann Nielsen    June 28, 1941 – October 5, 2022

Mary Ann served IRIS as our Board Chair for many, many years. She stepped up again and again to advocate for our organization. She is one of the biggest reasons that IRIS continues to exist and thrive in our 33rd year. It was one of our greatest joys (and challenges) to surprise her with our Dorothy B. Kirsner award in 2014 to recognize her “lasting and significant impact on the lives of blind Iowans”. (She is hard to surprise!)

We share our grief and gratitude for ALL Mary Ann did for our listeners for so long. 


IRIS delivers equal access to the ARTS through our Audio Description Services. Our trained volunteer Sensation description team calls play by play on the visual elements of a performance or community event. We’re so proud to partner with organizations throughout the state to ensure that blind and visually impaired patrons can participate in arts and culture in their communities. 

IRIS By the Numbers

hours a day

IRIS provides continuous programming 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. 


From around the state, listeners hear IRIS from their homes, hospitals, and living facilities.


Volunteers read from 7 different locations around the state of Iowa.

Ways to Listen

IRIS provides accessible options for listeners, including custom radio & digital receivers, web stream, podcasts, mobile phones, smart speakers, & mobile devices.

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Costs to iris

Equipment costs to IRIS range from $40-$335 per listener, depending on location.

Programming cost to IRIS is approximately 13 cents per listener per day.

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Cost to Listeners

We are able to keep our services free to all listeners thanks to donors like you. 

Listen to IRIS

IRIS is a service provided at no cost to you. Anyone in Iowa living with a visual, cognitive, or physical disability that prevents them from reading print material can become an IRIS listener today for free.

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