About the Lavelle Fund for the Blind
The Lavelle Fund for the Blind is a charitable grant-making foundation dedicated primarily to supporting programs that help individuals who are blind or visually impaired live independent and productive lives. While priority for direct service grants generally is given to programs in the greater New York metropolitan area, the Fund also considers grant requests with wider impact both nationally and internationally.
Case Study Highlights
LV Prasad Eye Institute
In April 2020, the Fund approved a two-year grant of $180,620 to support the L. V. Prasad (LVP) Eye Institute's upgrade of 20 existing Lavelle-supported Vision Centers in the state of Telangana, India. By providing them with IT-enabled ophthalmic equipment, the centers would be able to connect to LVP’s tertiary care center through the transmission of images, thereby expanding the scope and efficiency of eye care to rural areas.
Fred Hollows Foundation
In January 2020, the Fund approved a 12-month grant of $50,000 to the Fred Hollows Foundation to support the provision of free or subsidized, high-quality cataract surgeries for 500 patients in the Greater Hanoi, Vietnam area by Alina Vision, a social enterprise eye hospital dedicated to reducing preventable blindness and visual impairment in Vietnam. A primary purpose of this grant was to help Alina Vision move toward breakeven through increasing revenues from sliding-scale fees.
In January 2017, the Fund approved a three-year grant of $428,937 to the Seva Foundation, to help expand the capacity of two mentor eye clinics in Latin America-- Visualiza Eye Clinic in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and Divino Nino Jesus (DNJ) Eye Clinic in Lima, Peru-- to train Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOPs) through strengthened curricula.
Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital
In 2013, the Fund approved a grant of $473,679 to Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH) in New Delhi, India to build sustainable capacity for training additional numbers of new vision technicians, ophthalmic nursing assistants, and patient counselors. The overall goal of the project was to produce a combined total of 150 such trainees within the grant’s three-year life. SCEH expected ultimately to hire most of the graduates of the training and to use these cost-efficient “physician-extenders” to drive a near-doubling of the hospital’s yearly volume of cataract surgeries.
In October 2019, the Fund approved an 18-month grant of $294,000 to Alphapointe, a Kansas City-headquartered nonprofit that operates manufacturing and service businesses employing adults who are blind, to support the renovation of independent living training, meeting, and office spaces on the second floor of its new building in Queens; the purchase and installation of adaptive technology; and a portion of the staffing needed to provide adaptive training services in the new space.
VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
In 2013, the Fund approved a grant of $500,000 to support VISIONS, with its partner Helen Keller Services for the Blind, in launching an employer-centered and -guided job training and placement program for adults who are legally blind and live in New York City or Long Island. The program was to cultivate sustainable relationships with selected NYC and Long Island employers who hire entry-level workers.
Rutgers University Foundation
In October 2017, the Fund approved a two-year grant of $365,604 to Rutgers University Foundation, to support Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC) in launching a peer tele-support mental health program for New York City and Northern New Jersey residents who are blind or visually impaired. The project aimed to provide peer support services, to develop a clinical psychology referral network in NYC as well as within UBHC, and, to refer callers to professional mental health care and vision rehabilitation services.
Sense Internacional Perú
In January 2021, the Fund approved a two-year grant of $69,566 to Sense Internacional Peru (SIP) to work in partnership with Peru’s Ministry of Education to improve the quality of inclusive education for the nation’s children with deafblindness. SIP was to work on a number of fronts to promote the education of children who are deafblind, including identifying and assessing deafblind students, training teachers, providing family support and enhancing awareness of the right to quality inclusive education.
Perkins School for the Blind
Since 2020, the Lavelle Fund has supported scholarships for special education teachers from Latin America to participate in the Perkins Educational Leadership Program (ELP) for advanced training in the education of blind children with multiple disabilities, program development and leadership.
Perkins School for the Blind
In 2016, the Fund approved a three-year grant of $330,062 to Perkins School for the Blind, the oldest school in the nation for children who are blind and multiply disabled, for two purposes: (1) building the capacity of Perkins’ Resource Center in Cordoba, Argentina, to strengthen the practice of K-12 teachers and schools that serve children who are blind and multiply disabled in targeted Spanish-speaking South American countries, and (2) helping to stabilize and strengthen the financial management of three model schools for such children in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Lima, Peru.
Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School
In 2019, the Fund approved a nine-month grant of $26,000 to the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg (FMDG) Music School, a community music school dedicated to providing adaptive music instruction and performance opportunities to NYC area residents with vision loss. The purpose of the grant was to support the School’s 2019 sustainability planning, fundraising, and associated activities to preserve the School’s existence during its transition.
City Access New York
In 2014, the Fund approved a three-year grant of $180,000 to City Access New York (CANY). The grant served to underwrite vocational education, career exploration, and orientation and mobility training for 12 NYC secondary school and college students who are blind and visually impaired through participation in at least 30 one-semester paid internships at any of 20-25 partner museums and cultural institutions in NYC.