Holiday Message from Lavelle Fund 2023


Dear Lavelle Fund Grantees, Colleagues and Friends:

It’s a tried and true practice to start a holiday message with an appropriate, seasonal and inspiring quote — to set the tone and get us all in the mood. This year, frankly, it’s been kind of a challenge, given the state of the world, (and the state of the state!)

What originally came to mind was that timeless (and, frankly, appropriate) quote from Charles Dickens:

“Bah! Humbug!”

But we can do better than that! Let’s stay in the holiday spirit and not confuse Santa (Clause) with Santos (George). No room for politics in this letter.

While parts of our world seem to be falling apart at the seams, our world of vision services is being stitched together with the power of your hard work, dedication, can-do attitude and good humor.

So much has been accomplished in our field this year; people at all stages of vision loss are better off because each and every one of you showed up and gave it your best. We’ve said it before, and it bears a re-statement: We stand in awe of you. You do amazingly good work, you are tireless in your efforts and you never cease to amaze us. We are honored to be a small part of the work that you do.

Looking forward to 2024, we know already that it will be a bittersweet year, as we are saying goodbye (no, not goodbye….rather, fare-thee-well) to several amazing, long-time colleagues who have announced imminent retirement plans. So many of you in fact, that we wondered whether someone was throwing a party and neglected to invite us!

Nancy Miller (VISIONS), Kathy Spahn (HKI), Tammy Owens (VIA), Jim Deremeik (Wilmer Eye Institute), Julie Tye (Hadley) and David Heath (SUNY College of Optometry). Your imprint on the work of our field is lasting and beyond significant. You will be missed, but your legacies will live on in the work of the organizations you leave behind. Before you exit the stage, please take a much deserved bow.

Bravo! Standing O! and Well Done You!

Let’s say goodbye now to 2023 and gear up for 2024. May it be a year full of advancements and good works. May we all bring our best selves to work, lift each other up, and move forward in our shared mission.

I guess, after all, it would be appropriate to end with a better seasonal quote from Mr. Dickens. So……In the immortal words of Tiny Tim:

“God bless us, everyone!”

Susan Olivo
Executive Director and CEO

Dr. Louis Pizzarello
Board Chair

December 2023