What We Fund

The Lavelle Fund for the Blind funds the following program areas:

Elderly woman about to see again for the first time after her cataract surgery

Courtesy of Ace Kvale / Himalayan Cataract Project

Medical Eye Care

Ophthalmic, Optometric, and Public Health Services

Medical (ophthalmic) treatment and surgery for eye diseases and disorders, optometric treatment and eyeglass prescriptions, and public health efforts to control the spread of vision affecting communicable eye diseases. To date, most such support has gone to developing world programs.

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Staff doctor examining a child with low vision at the Wenzhou Medical College’s new Center of Excellence in Low Vision (Wenzhou, China): a partnership program with the SUNY College of Optometry

Courtesy of Wenzhou Medical College

Vision Rehabilitation & Resources

Independent, Productive Lives

Adaptive training, devices, and low-vision services advancing success and independence in the classroom, workspace, and home.

Related areas of funding include: information & referral services and access to religious services.

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Mother teaching her multiply disabled and visually impaired young girl to use iPad

Courtesy of Lighthouse Guild


Education Services, Professional Training and Scholarships

K-12, university and graduate-level educational services for students who are blind and visually impaired and professional training for teachers and other professionals or para-professionals who serve and support people who are blind and visually impaired.

Related areas of funding include:the Brother James Kearney Scholarship Program.

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Program vs. Capital Support

The Lavelle Fund for the Blind concentrates on providing program support earmarked for program creation, expansion, or improvement. Capital support is generally awarded only in connection with specific program support needs.

The majority of Fund-supported grants are project-specific. General operating support is rarely provided.

Funding Limitations

The Fund does not make grants to any of the following:

  • Individuals.
  • Organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, except in the case of non-U.S. charitable, nonprofit organizations that lack a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) fiscal intermediary.
  • Medical research programs.
  • Conferences or media events (unless they are an integral part of a broader program of direct service).
  • Advocacy efforts to influence legislation or elections.
  • Organizations seeking support for deficit reduction or emergency funding.