Mission, Vision, Values & History

Mission, Vision, Values


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.


We envision a world where people who are blind and visually impaired can lead full, independent, and productive lives.


We believe that good grantmaking builds bridges and relationships.

  • We value our grantees and the work that they do.

We believe that barriers can be overcome by connecting people with disabilities to resources and expertise.

  • We value the communities we serve and their own inherent strengths.

We believe in collaborative resource sharing.

  • We encourage our funding collaborators to build accessibility into their grantmaking.

We believe that our grantmaking should be affirming, and should be informed by compassion, respect, integrity and dignity.

  • We value our history and the philosophy of human dignity and service to those in need.

We believe in effecting systemic change to ensure a legacy of inclusion, empowerment and accessibility for those with visual impairments.

  • We value lasting impacts and accountability
  • We are committed to using our resources to help ensure equal access and equitable outcomes for people who are blind and visually impaired.


Woman removing bandage for the first time after cataract surgery (Nuwakot District, Nepal)

Courtesy of Dr. John Welling / Himalayan Cataract Project


Our grantmaking is inspired by our historical roots with the caring and dedicated Dominican Sisters who recognize the dignity of all people and who care for the most vulnerable among us.

Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc. is an outgrowth of the Lavelle School for the Blind, which was founded and began operating as a school for the blind in 1904. For most of the succeeding century, the Lavelle School was led by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York. It was the Sisters’ Christian values, caring, and professionalism that helped prepare generations of Lavelle students for independent, productive lives – and, in doing so, to inspire and attract ongoing support from New York’s Catholic community.

In 1947, the School became a state-chartered and state-funded 4201 school dedicated to providing educational and therapeutic services to children who have visual and one or more other impairments. Thereafter, the School did not rely on its endowment to fund annual operations – and the endowment grew considerably over many decades. It was in this fiscal context that in 1999, a new Lavelle School entity was created, holding only the assets needed to run the School. The old entity and its endowment became the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc. (the Fund), the charitable foundation that has since been administering grants to benefit the broader community of people with visual impairments.

ChildSight technician carrying out vision screening on young girl

Courtesy of Helen Keller International