The Lavelle Fund supports programs that help people who are blind and visually impaired lead independent, productive lives, together with eye care programs working to prevent and treat vision loss. Programs in the Catholic tradition of serving the disadvantaged are of special interest.
Most Fund support goes to organizations that serve the New York City metropolitan area or New York State. However, the Fund also funds programs benefiting the developing world. Both direct service and capacity-building support are concentrated on programs with records of achieving measurable impact on the population served.
Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc., formerly the Lavelle School for the Blind, began operating a school for the blind in 1904. For most of the succeeding century, the Lavelle School was led by the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt. It was the Sisters’ Christian values, caring, and professionalism that helped prepare generations of Lavelle students for independent, productive lives – and, in doing so, to inspire and attract ongoing support from New York’s Catholic community.
In 1947, the School became a state-chartered and state-funded 4201 school dedicated to serving multi-handicapped children with visual impairments. Thereafter, the School did not rely on its endowment to fund annual operations – and the endowment grew considerably over many decades. It was in this fiscal context that in 1999, a new Lavelle School entity was created, holding only the assets needed to run the School. The old entity and its endowment became the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc. (the Fund), a charitable foundation that administers grants to benefit the broader community of visually impaired people.
The Lavelle Fund supports:
- Vision rehabilitation, education, and other non-medical services to or on behalf of people with irreversible vision loss.
- Eye care (ophthalmic, optometric, and related public health services) for disadvantaged people.
Support is concentrated mainly on organizations serving the New York City Metropolitan area and New York State. Support also goes to developing world programs, particularly primary and secondary eye care programs.
While especially interested in programs that reflect the Catholic tradition of serving the disadvantaged, the Fund makes grants to a broad range of quality direct service programs. Support is concentrated on programs that present evidence of program impact on the population served and plans for making measurable progress toward pre-determined goals in a specific time frame.