In 2002, Richard Salem founded Enable America to eliminate the significant barriers to employment, civic involvement, and social inclusion for the 54 million Americans living with disabilities. The organization reflects Richard’s belief that good things happen when people have jobs.
Richard, who lost his eyesight as a teenager, has been practicing law for more than thirty years. He is the founding partner of the Tampa-based Salem Law Group and manages an active business and governmental practice. He is a member of the Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, the American Blind Lawyers Association, and the International Bar Association.
Richard has been quoted in SELF Magazine as one of Seven Highly Effective People and was named “Best of a Generation” by Esquire Magazine in 1984. He received the Rick Douglas Advocacy Award for outstanding work in the field of disability rights in 2001. John D. Kemp, co-founder of the American Association of People with Disabilities, has said that “Richard Salem brings new and exciting ideas for political participation and active civic involvement to our diverse and, oftentimes, fragmented disability community. Richard is no overnight sensation; simply looking at his career, his life, shows us all what major contributions he’s made to the quality of everyone’s lives he’s touched in so many different circles.”
Richard serves on the National Advisory Eye Council of the National Eye Institute, the Professional Advisory Board of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Board of Visitors of Duke Law School. He also serves on the boards of the National Organization on Disability and the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind from 1979 through 1986.
A native of North Carolina, Richard graduated cum laude from Belmont Abbey College in 1969. He graduated from Duke Law School with distinction in 1972. Richard and his wife, Eileen, have two daughters, Susan and Lizzi. His hobbies include reading, swimming, yoga, listening to music, cycling, hiking and snow skiing.