New partnership with MetLife Foundation will help provide eye care to thousands of school children
MetLife, through its Versant Health business, works with Vision To Learn across the country
Vision To Learn Founder, Austin Beutner, and MetLife President of U.S. Business Ramy Tadros, announce national partnership
NEWARK, NJ – MetLife Foundation and Vision To Learn provided 171 children at Great Oaks Legacy Charter School today with free eyeglasses. Vision To Learn will provide about 500,000 children across the country with access to school-based vision services this year and more than 100,000 of them will receive glasses. A $500,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation will support Vision To Learn in its work to help provide free vision screenings, eye exams and glasses to children at schools in more than 750 low-income communities across the country.
Vision To Learn is a nonprofit charity that provides children at schools in low-income communities across the country with free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses. The program brings licensed optometrists to school sites, eliminating barriers to care that would otherwise prevent many children from getting the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life. Founded in 2012 by Austin Beutner, Vision To Learn has provided about 2 million students with vision screenings, almost 400,000 with eye exams, and 320,000 with glasses, in 14 states and the District of Columbia.
“MetLife Foundation’s support will help us toward our goal of providing access to eye care for children across the country,” said Austin Beutner, Vision To Learn founder. “Every child, every school, everywhere in the country should have the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life.”
About one in four children, whether from a family with means or a family struggling to get by, will naturally need glasses. Children who need glasses and don’t have them are more likely to be misdiagnosed with behavioral issues in kindergarten, be considered “slow” learners by 5th grade, and to drop out of high school. Unfortunately, in low-income urban and rural communities, most children who need glasses don’t have them due to financial constraints, language barriers, unresponsive health bureaucracies or the simple fact there are no eye care professionals in their neighborhood
This program solves the problem by bringing the glasses to the kids where they are almost every day—their local neighborhood school. At Great Oaks Legacy Charter School 550 students were provided with vision screenings, 182 with eye exams, and 171 with glasses, all at no cost to the student or their family.
“As a leading vision insurance provider through the Davis and Superior Vision networks, we recognize the life-long benefits of vision care,” said Ramy Tadros, regional president, U.S. Business,
MetLife, and MetLife Foundation board member. “School-based health services like Vision To Learn are a powerful tool for providing access to care that all children deserve. We know that children who have access to vision care do better academically in school. Helping kids who need glasses is a simple yet effective way to boost their educational and economic progress.”
MetLife Foundation’s support of Vision To Learn is aligned with the foundation’s mission to uplift low- and moderate-income people around the world to build a more confident future. Providing access to free vision screenings and glasses to students who are most in need will help build students’ self-confidence to engage in the classroom and increase their chances to thrive.
Vision To Learn has been a pioneer in building a model of vision care to children in low-income communities which is both scalable and sustainable. Its mobile clinics, staffed with properly licensed and trained eye care professionals, are a cost-effective way to reach children in low-income communities where they are most days—at their local, neighborhood school.
Vision To Learn has led national efforts by creating a true public-private partnership which can access reimbursement for a portion of its costs under long-standing Medicaid laws. MetLife, through its Versant Health eye care business, has worked closely with Vision To Learn in building this public-private model. Versant Health has contributed over $250,000 in additional support for Vision To Learn through an employee giving program.
Vision To Learn has also led efforts at the state level in several states including California, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Delaware and South Carolina to fix outdated rules or laws which historically have prevented non-profit, eye care providers from helping children at schools.
About Vision To Learn
Vision To Learn, a non-profit charity, was founded in 2012 by the Beutner Family Foundation. The program has helped children in over 750 low-income communities in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Vision To Learn serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach children; about 90% of kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and about 85% are kids of color. Since its founding, Vision To Learn has provided access to eye care for more than 2 million children with vision screenings, 396,000 with eye exams and 320,000 with glasses – all free of charge to children and their families. This year another 100,000 children will receive glasses from Vision To Learn despite the challenge COVID-19 continues to present at schools. For more information on Vision To Learn, please visit www.visiontolearn.org.
About MetLife Foundation
At MetLife Foundation, we are committed to driving inclusive economic mobility for underserved and underrepresented communities around the world. We collaborate with nonprofit organizations and provide grants aligned to three strategic focus areas – economic inclusion, financial health and resilient communities – while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since 1976, MetLife Foundation has contributed over $900 million to strengthen communities where MetLife has a presence. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.MetLife.org