Vision To Learn today announced support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) that will help provide eyeglasses to tens of thousands of children across the country, putting a dent in the estimated two million students who struggle to see and lack access to basic eye care.
Vision To Learn, a nonprofit charity which started with one van in Los Angeles in 2012 now serves kids with its mobile clinics in more than 180 cities – from Honolulu to Baltimore. The grant from CZI will help Vision To Learn expand in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as Des Moines, Iowa, Jackson, Mississippi, and Newark, New Jersey. CZI’s support will also help Vision To Learn launch in a number of other cities in the 2017-2018 school year. In addition to support from organizations such as CZI, Vision To Learn also draws on public dollars from reimbursement by Medicaid and other programs.
Vision To Learn is the largest program of its kind in the country. Since 2012, Vision To Learn has helped to screen more than 450,000 children, provided eye exams to almost 90,000 children and provided nearly 70,000 kids with glasses. About 89 percent of the kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and 87 percent are children of color.
“The support from CZI will allow us to expand our efforts across the nation and serve many, many more kids,” said Austin Beutner, Vision To Learn Founder and Chair. “Providing kids with glasses helps them succeed in school and in life.”
A 2013 study conducted by independent researchers at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital found that Vision To Learn’s model of providing glasses to students in low-income communities significantly increased the use of glasses by children who need them and produced real results – from improved grades to greater focus and engagement in the classroom.
“Vision To Learn is demonstrating that helping kids reach their potential doesn’t always have to be complicated,” said Jim Shelton, President of Education for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “By leveraging public dollars to provide access to free eye exams and glasses, Vision To Learn is making sure obvious and relatively easily addressed challenges to learning and achievement – like not being able to see the board or the screen – aren’t standing in the way of kids being able to do their best. This is a scalable solution to a problem that could have and should have been addressed long ago, and it’s our hope that leaders in the public and private sectors will help us address the needs of the children left to be served.”
ABOUT VISION TO LEARN:
Vision To Learn (VTL) is a non-profit charity which provides free eye exams and free glasses to children in low-income communities. VTL’s mobile clinics, staffed with licensed eye care professionals, visit schools and youth service programs and have provided eye exams to almost 90,000 kids and provided almost 70,000 with glasses, free of charge, to children in more than 180 cities. Of the kids served by Vision To Learn, about 89% live in poverty and 87% are kids of color. For more information on Vision To Learn, please visit visiontolearn.org.
ABOUT THE CHAN ZUCKERBERG INITIATIVE:
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was launched in December 2015 by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician and founder and CEO of The Primary School in East Palo Alto. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a new kind of philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity through engineering, grant making, impact investing, policy and advocacy work. Initial areas of focus include science and education.