Two of the country’s leading non-profit providers of school-based vision care are teaming up to expand their outreach in the Greater Philadelphia region. The Eagles Charitable Foundation (creator of the Eagles Eye Mobile) and Vision To Learn (a nationwide leader in pediatric eye care) are joining forces to amplify their comprehensive vision care services for students throughout the School District of Philadelphia (SDP).
According to research, one in four school-age children have an undetected vision problem. In Philadelphia, more than 30,000 SDP students do not receive the proper eye care, which in many cases, has an adverse effect on their academic development. The primary hurdle is a lack of access to vision services for students in low-income communities.
This year, the program will expand to serve thousands more children annually, with the help of the nation’s largest non-profit mobile vision care provider, Vision To Learn.
“Addressing the needs of school-age children, particularly those with undiagnosed vision problems, has been core to our philanthropic outreach for nearly 25 years,” said Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles Chairman and CEO. “Partnering with Vision To Learn and Warby Parker will now enable us to reach even more children in Greater Philadelphia, setting them up for a lifetime of success.”
The Eagles Eye Mobile – powered by Vision To Learn is adding an additional mobile clinic to its original two-lane Eye Mobile, which combined, will serve more than 80 students daily. When fully implemented, the program will help every SDP student in need, every two years. These vehicles will travel to more than 60 schools annually, providing free vision exams and prescription eyeglasses at no cost to the families. Children who are diagnosed with a more serious eye issue are then referred to one of the city’s leading healthcare institutions for further analysis and follow-up care.
“We are grateful to our partners at the Eagles Eye Mobile, Vision To Learn, and Warby Parker for providing necessary vision exams and prescription glasses to our students,” said Dr. William Hite, Superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia. “Children are in the best position to learn and succeed when they can see clearly and are fully engaged in what’s going on in their classrooms. We know that sometimes families do not have access to quality vision care, so we are excited to be able to ensure students across the city will have access to these crucial services.”
Inspired by former Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl guard Jermane Mayberry, the Eagles Eye Mobile has provided free vision screenings, exams, prescription eyeglasses, and follow-up care for nearly 100,000 under-insured and uninsured children in the Greater Philadelphia area since 1996. Mayberry, who suffered from an underdeveloped optic nerve in his left eye, said that he wanted to help area children with their eye care shortly after he was drafted by the team. The Eagles Eye Mobile has operated under the team’s public charity, the Eagles Charitable Foundation, which has reached more than one million children in the Philadelphia region through health and education programs since 1995.
“Every child deserves to have access to comprehensive eye care,” said Christina Weiss Lurie, President Eagles Charitable Foundation. “While vision issues are common among children, too many are left without the vital care they need. Through this transformational partnership, every child in the School District of Philadelphia will now have access to vision care services and be put on a path to reach their full potential in the classroom and beyond.”
“The Eagles Eye Mobile has directly impacted the lives of thousands of children through free vision screenings, eye exams, and prescription glasses,” said Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles President. “We are grateful for the support of our partners over the past 23 years and their dedication to a program that has benefited so many children. And now, we are thrilled to take this next step with Vision To Learn and Warby Parker to expand the scope of the vision program and continue to serve our youth in the School District of Philadelphia.”
The partnership will be joined by eyewear brand Warby Parker, which has committed to provide all glasses for the SDP project in-kind as part of their Pupils Project program. To date, Warby Parker has distributed more than 88,000 pairs of glasses to students in Baltimore and New York City through Pupils Project.
“My co-founders and I launched Warby Parker when we were graduate students in Philadelphia; this city and its community are incredibly special to us, and we’re proud to make an impact here by helping students reach their full potential,” said Neil Blumenthal, Warby Parker Co-Founder and Co-CEO. “Through our Pupils Project programs in Baltimore and New York City, we’ve seen the power that a single pair of glasses can have on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. We’re excited to support the Eagles Charitable Foundation and continue our partnership with Vision To Learn to provide glasses to all Philadelphia students who need them.”
A kick-off celebration was held on Monday at Samuel Gompers School in Wynnefield, PA to commence the new partnership. Fifty-two students received their eyeglasses for the first time, while a PLAY 60 pep rally was led by Philadelphia Eagles players.
About Eagles Charitable Foundation
Eagles Charitable Foundation (ECF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that serves thousands of low income children in the Greater Philadelphia region every year with a focus on improving health outcomes. ECF’s mission is: Using our unique platform to provide children in the Philadelphia region greater access to vision care and autism research and services. For more information, please visit www.EaglesCharitableFoundation.org.
About Warby Parker
Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. Every idea starts with a problem. Theirs was simple: glasses are too expensive. By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, they’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear starting at $95 (a fraction of the going price).
Warby Parker also believes that everyone has the right to see. Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners utilize public and private-sector partnerships to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. To date, Warby Parker has distributed more than five million pairs of glasses to people in need.
Warby Parker launched Pupils Project in 2015 when it announced a partnership with the City of New York, the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Community Schools, and the Office of School Health to provide vision services to students enrolled in New York City‘s Community Schools; the program now operates in 258 Community Schools and has expanded to include all kindergarten and first grade students across the five boroughs. Warby Parker brought Pupils Project to Baltimore in 2016 by partnering with the City of Baltimore, the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins, and Vision To Learn to reach students across all 150 elementary and middle schools. For more information, please visit www.WarbyParker.com.