President's Calling - Generous Members and Corporate Partners Support the Foundation

Published November 16, 2017

November 2017

Generous Members and Corporate Partners Support the Foundation

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) has undergone significant changes in the past year, including a name change and new logo. The new name and logo link the Foundation closer to the Academy and make it clear that we thrive together.

This month, we’d like to highlight the exceptional generosity of our members and sponsors, contributing a record number of donations this year. At Academy 2017 Chicago, we received $250,000 in donations and new pledges. During the meeting, nine new donors joined the prestigious President’s Circle, or moved up a level, by making new or increased pledges/donations of $10,000 or more! Thanks to this generosity, the AAOF Circle of Giving (which includes the President’s Circle) now has over 175 members.

The Alcon Foundation sponsored the 20/20 Cycle for Sight Challenge in the bustling exhibit hall. Participants cycled for a cumulative 2,020 minutes that triggered a $25,000 donation from the Alcon Foundation in recognition of World Sight Day. Congratulations to the students from the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry for bicycling the most minutes!

The Academy’s Foundation is thriving and generates a tremendous amount of funding for research and graduate student support each year. More than $450,000 in grants, fellowships, and scholarships were presented in 2017 to 150 awardees, which is more than in past years. There are 11 new Ezell Fellows. The AAOF presented two inaugural awards this year—the Korb-Exford Dry Eye Career Development Grant for $25,000 and the Joseph T. Barr Early Cornea and Contact Lens Research Award for $2,750.

Below is a list of additional awards presented by the AAOF:

  • Glenn A. Fry Lecture Award
  • Award of Excellence (in Contact Lens Patient Care)
  • Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics
  • Michael G. Harris Family Award for Excellence in Optometric Education
  • Henry B. Peters Memorial Award in Public Health & Environmental Vision
  • Bert C. and Lydia M. Corwin Contact Lens Residency Award
  • Douglas Hopkins Primary Care Residency Award
  • Terrance N. Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Award
  • Alfred A. Rosenbloom, Jr. Low Vision Residency Award
  • Sheldon Wechsler & George Mertz Contact Lens Residency Award
  • Allergan Foundation Research Grant
  • Beta Sigma Kappa Research Fellowship
  • Fredric Rosemore Low Vision Educational Grants
  • Kirschen Family Student Travel Fellowship
  • Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) Student Travel Grant
  • Elmer H. Eger Memorial Student Travel Fellowship
  • N. Rex Ghormley Student Travel Fellowship
  • Johnson and Johnson Student Travel Fellowships
  • VSP - AAOF Practice Excellence Scholarships
  • VSP and FYidoctors - AAOF Practice Excellence Scholarships
  • J. Pat Cummings Scholarships
  • Vincent Salierno Scholarships
  • AAOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grants

In addition to Johnson & Johnson Vision’s support of awards and grants, VSP and FYidoctors’ support of scholarships, and Allergan’s support of research, Essilor provides support for the Foundation’s Celebration Luncheon. The Foundation appreciates the collaboration we have with these companies in support of AAOF programs.

A special thank you to AAOF’s Board of Directors for a phenomenal effort: David Kirschen, president, Wendy Harrison, president-elect, Melissa Bailey, secretary-treasurer, Kathy Dumbleton, immediate past president, Lois Schoenbrun, ex-officio, Stacey Coulter, Susan Eger, Kerry Giedd, Pete Kollbaum (liaison), Richard Madonna, David Sattler, Jeffrey Walline, and Karla Zadnik. Maureen Dimont and Jennifer Rubin provide the staff support needed to allow the Foundation to function smoothly.

The Academy is fortunate to have so many generous individual and corporate sponsors. If you haven’t already, please consider donating today to support our important commitments to research and education. Your donations go to several worthy awards and projects within the Academy Foundation.

A heartfelt thank you to all who made this past year a huge success for the Academy’s Foundation!


Joseph P. Shovlin, OD, FAAO
President, AAO

David Kirschen, OD, PhD, FAAO
President, AAOF

P.S. Special recognition is also due to the generous members and sponsors who provided financial assistance to the students and faculty at the Inter American University School of Optometry in Puerto Rico (IAUPR) who experienced devastated by two recent storms, Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Through the generosity of CooperVision, National Vision and individual donors, we were able to provide a $750 travel fellowship to 52 students to help them attend Academy 2017 Chicago. In addition, a registration fee refund was issued to every optometrist and student from Puerto Rico regardless of whether they attended the meeting or not. We sincerely thank our donors who responded in both a quick and generous fashion. IAUPR re-opened its optometry school on October 31, 2017.