Pennsylvania Vision Foundation Grants $20,000 to Underinsured Pennsylvanians for Vision Health

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PITTSBURGH—The Pennsylvania Vision Foundation (PVF), an affiliate of Vision Benefits of America, has granted $20,000 to programs organized and overseen by some of its partner agencies to connect Pennsylvanians with healthy vision, according to an announcement this week. “Over the past year, we focused on deepening our relationships with existing partner agencies and expanding to include other agencies,” said Dr. Andrew Leitzel, OD, executive director of the Foundation. “By growing these relationships, we are able to provide additional funding to reach even more Pennsylvanians.”

The $20,000 in grants has aided the following Pennsylvania-based partner agency programs in their efforts to connect lives with essential eyecare:

Vision Resource Center of Berks County (VRC Berks), Reading

Serving the Berks County community for over 85 years, VRC Berks is an affiliate agency of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind. VRC Berks provides an array of programs including: sight loss support groups, adult socialization, adult counseling, vision health education, Hispanic outreach and child vision screenings. The grant supports the cost of implementing, administrating and marketing the foundation’s Vision Benefit Program for individuals deemed eligible.

Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM), State College

CVIM has been serving Centre County since 2003 by providing medical care, dental care, pharmacy, case management and medical assistance at no cost to qualified, uninsured patients. CVIM is an affiliate of the Free Clinic Association of Pennsylvania and receives no federal or state funding while driving a budget solely through community individuals, corporate donations and private foundations. The grant will be used for funding a new marketing campaign designed to increase community awareness of the medical programs they provide alongside the foundation’s Vision Benefit Program.

“Partnering with PA Vision Foundation provides an important benefit to the low-income, uninsured patients at Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM),” Cheryl White, CVIM’s executive director, said in the announcement. “The physicians and nurses in the medical clinic find the benefit program easy to use and patients are able to pick from many participating eye doctors for their care. One returning patient proudly showed off his new frames and lenses saying ‘Look, I can see!’ The medical team recognizes the important role the program plays in being able to provide comprehensive care to patients. Thank you, Pennsylvania Vision Foundation.”

FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center, Pittsburgh

FOCUS Pittsburgh has a mission of trauma-informed community development. FOCUS Pittsburgh is a member of the Free Clinic Association of Pennsylvania with a wide breadth of programs including family crisis intervention, workforce development, transportation, document recovery and free health clinic. Grant funds will be allocated toward community outreach and marketing along with administration of the foundation’s Vision Benefit Program.

“The Pennsylvania Vision Foundation has provided the FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center patients immense support,” said Kristina Abernathy, clinic administrator for FOCUS Pittsburgh. “By providing vouchers for eye exams and glasses, the patients are more easily able to complete that item of their preventative care. Without the support of the PA Vision Foundation, far fewer patients would complete eye exams, which would then result in people being unable to sustain opportunities because they are unable to see well.”

The Pennsylvania Vision Foundation (PVF) conducts and finances projects to foster and preserve human eyesight through the science of optometry throughout Pennsylvania. PVF provides opportunities for under-insured Pennsylvania residents to receive eyecare, including vision exams, prescription lenses and frames. The Foundation is a proud affiliate of Vision Benefits of America (VBA).