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"Blindness Prevention Donor Advised Fund"

Frank J. Devlyn

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What can a donation to the Blindness Prevention Donor Advised Fund of The Rotary Foundation accomplish?

Visit the Blindness Prevention - DAF FAQ Page on this web site

My name is Todd Lindley and I serve Missouri District 6060 as Foundation chairman and Grants chairman. Also I have worked with the Avoidable Blindness Donor Advised Fund and the Avoidable Blindness Fellowship of Rotary for the last few years. Steve Brown asked that I share some information with you about what a donation of US $25,000 could do in the arena of Avoidable Blindness.

As you likely know, blindness due to cataracts in the poor population is very common in many countries. It is most common among the older population but occurs at some level from birth throughout life due to many different reasons. For the expert ophthalmologist with the proper equipment it is a fairly routine surgical procedure to remove the cataract involved lens and replace it with a new intra-ocular lens. Very often, the patient not only can see again, but often has a very high quality of vision. Amazingly, while this procedure often costs from $3,000 - $6,000 here in the US, it is often performed by volunteer ophthalmologists in third world countries at a cost of less than $30, sometimes for as little as $22 or even less.

So, you can see that simply buying $25,000 worth of cataract surgery supplies can help give "Rotary's Gift of Sight" to anywhere from 800 to over 1,100 poor blind people.  A real miracle occurs when that money is donated to the Avoidable Blindness Donor Advised Fund (DAF) though.  Now, that money is used to add to funds from other Rotary Clubs and Districts around the world as they write Rotary Foundation Matching Grant applications. Very often, $2,000 from the Avoidable Blindness DAF is approved to be given to Matching Grant projects funding cataract surgeries. Additionally, our Rotary Foundation provides a 50% match to the Avoidable Blindness DAF contribution, so that another $1,000 is added to the project.

For example, my District 6060 has written an eye surgery matching grant application this year in partnership with a district in India, another district in Missouri, one in Illinois and one in Kentucky. Also the Avoidable Blindness DAF has contributed $2,000 to our project. The donations from each district and the Avoidable Blindness DAF have been matched by our Rotary Foundation to become a total of $44,000 which will help 2,000 poor blind people in India District 3160 see again.

In this way, the $25,000 donation to the Avoidable Blindness Donor Advised Fund can enhance projects being managed by Rotarians in many countries, perhaps as many as 12 or 13 different projects like the one I described.  These projects could fund a few hundred or several thousand eye surgeries. This could lead to 26,000 blind people or more being able to open their eyes and see again.  Being able to see their grandkids for the first time. Being able to see to cook for themselves and clean their dwellings. For the young people, being able to see to learn to read and write and receive an education.

So, a donation to the Avoidable Blindness Donor Advised Fund will be multiplied by being added to donations from other Rotarians, Rotary Clubs, Rotary Districts and matching funds from our Rotary Foundation to help Rotarians help ten or twenty times as many people as the money could do by itself. It is truly a miracle. 

Please feel free to browse a few web pages on our district web site where we have some pictures of some of the more remarkable patients that we have helped see again.




It is also good to remember that while India, due to its living conditions and nutrition of its poor population has a huge number of surgeries being done, we are also funding eye surgeries in many other countries, such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, and Thailand. There is great need in Africa, Mexico, South America and many other places.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me at LINDLEYDDS@PRIMARY.NET

Note:  For additional information on the Donor Advised Fund for Blindness Prevention, contact the Fund Administrator

PDG Walt Schloer
Email:  wschloer@empnet.com

Visit the Blindness Prevention - DAF FAQ Page on this web site

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