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 is generally given to programs in the greater New York metropolitan area, the Fund also considers grant requests geared to preventing, treating and, where possible, reversing blindness and vision loss nationally and globally.

Our Work

Cumulatively, we’ve awarded$87.6Min Total Grants (as of December 31, 2020, excluding Scholarships)
Map of Northeast USA with NY, CT, and NJ highlighted.Of this grant total, $50.8 million has gone to organizations serving our home, Tri-State New York region.
361Grants Awarded (as of December 31, 2020; excluding Scholarships)
Map of South Asia with India, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, and Indonesia highlighted.56% of our international grantmaking dollars have been directed to Asia with a predominant focus on South Asia (India, Nepal and Bangladesh).
We’ve given$3.6Mto Brother Kearney Scholarship Recipients (as of December 31, 2020)
Map of Latin America with Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina highlighted.Latin America is the Fund’s second largest grant investment internationally, focusing on sustainable eye care and improving access to quality education for blind and multiply disabled children.

Case Study Highlights

Study
children sitting on the floor during educational playtime

Courtesy of Perkins School for the Blind

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.

Girl Playing Piano

Courtesy of Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School

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.

Boy with visual impairment in suit sitting at table

Courtesy 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.

group of Learning Ally students posing for picture in classroom

Courtesy of Learning Ally

Learning Ally

In 2014, the Fund approved a grant of $303,560 to Learning Ally, the country’s largest provider of recorded textbooks for students who are otherwise print-disabled, to create a national program designed to help blind and visually impaired students succeed in college. The College Success Program was to consist of (1) a website presenting online resources and information, and (2) a mentorship program pairing students with mentors who have been successful visually impaired college graduates.

Women receiving eye exam

Photo Credit: Brent Stirton/Getty Images for the International Trachoma Initiative

Task Force for Global Health

In 2014, the Fund approved a five-year grant of $610,304 to Task Force for Global Health (Task Force) to work with the Ethiopian NGO Grarbet Tehadis Mahber (GTM) towards eliminating blinding trachoma in four woredas (health districts) in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region, the world’s epicenter of the trachoma public-health crisis, containing close to one-third of the global burden.

Little girl covering eye for eye exam

Courtesy of LVPEI.

LV Prasad Eye Institute

In 2015, the Fund approved a three-year grant (subsequently extended to 58 months) of $743,146 to L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), a world-class provider of comprehensive clinical ophthalmology services in India, to build the sustainable capacity of 30 L V Prasad vision centers in the Indian state of Telangana. The construction project was to consist of two main goals: (1) to screen the vision of 750,000 children ages 0-16 in the centers’ catchment areas and (2) to provide prescription eyeglasses, advanced eye care, and/or low-vision and rehabilitation services to those children as needed, regardless of their ability to pay.

Karol Bagh Rotary – Shroff Eye Clinic’s first patient

Courtesy of Rotary Internationals / Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital

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.

Young adults speaking with politicians in conference room

Courtesy of Deafblind Citizens in Action

Deafblind Citizens in Action

In 2016, the Fund approved a two-year grant of $76,000 to Deafblind Citizens in Action (DBCA), a small nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing access to education, technology, and employment for all Americans who are deaf-blind. The grant support would allow two successive six-person cadres of young adults who are deafblind to participate in DBCA’s program, Deafblind Young Adults in Action: Participating in the Policy-making Process (DBYAA)

Blind jobseekers visiting Google to learn about their job openings.

Courtesy of VISIONS / Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

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.