How the Program Works


March 1, 2018: Applications available online
May: Grant program informational webinar *
June: Grant program informational webinar*
July 2, 2018: Application deadline. All applications must be received by midnight CST.
August: AOA State Affiliates and grantees notified

*Dates to be determined

Grants provide funding for implementation of community-based solutions that support HEHC objectives and increase the outreach of vision services to communities, families, schools and the medical community with special attention to the underserved children in the U.S.

Applicants should address the following HEHC objectives:

Objectives #1: Strengthen the outreach of community health programs through AOA State Optometric Affiliates and their ability to interface and collaborate with a variety of state and local partners within as well as outside the optometric community.

Objectives #2: Increase visibility of optometric care at the state and local levels.

Objectives #3: Promote projects/results in a way that drives quality health care and the delivery of care to underserved children.

Objectives #4: Provide comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses to underserved youth through sustainable community-based solutions across the U.S.

Potential grantees should develop pathways to increase access to comprehensive vision and eye health care for children and any secondary prevention efforts to find vision and eye health problems early so that action can be taken to minimize the risk of progression of eye diseases or vision disorders.

Refer to section on “Example of Projects” to review list of potential project types.

What is the intent of these grants?

The Healthy Eyes Healthy Children Community Grant Program is intended to stimulate community initiatives in health promotion and prevention while simultaneously encouraging a more comprehensive approach to the vision and eye health care needs of the underserved infants and children. Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation and the Essilor Vision Foundation recognize the importance of strengthening the outreach of community-based organizations by providing “seed money” to begin or continue these vision and eye health-related projects. 

Grantees should be aware that despite efforts to provide vision care for children, there is considerable evidence of disparities in both the access and utilization of professional vision care among children. Sadly, appropriate assurance of access to early and timely comprehensive vision care services by a professional eye care provider is often being sidetracked by low sensitivity vision screenings that produce an inordinate number of “false negatives” and /or symptomatic children simply not being referred to professional eye care services directly.

How much?

Each award is worth up to a maximum of $5,000; however, additional funds may be given if the scope of the project reaches a larger population. For instance, if there is a project that reaches multiple states or is planned to continue past the first year, this may be considered for a larger grant. The applicant is committed to a 1-year grant term with the ability to reapply for multi-year/ongoing support.

Additionally in-kind stock lenses and/or lab services will be provided at no cost for grantee projects.  Please represent an estimated in-kind value in your budget calculation.

The AOA Foundation’s HEHC Committee will score the proposals and make funding decisions.

What is not supported?

-Paying doctors for services.
-Continuing education courses for optometrists.
-Research projects.
-Fund raising efforts.
-Direct grants to individuals.
-Commercial (for-profit) enterprises or activities.
-Cash reserves and endowments.
-Underwriting of ongoing construction costs, purchase, or renovation of facilities.
-Subgranting or regranting.
-Promoting religious activity, lobbying, or political support.
-Any activity that violates local, State, or Federal laws.

Where do I submit my application?

You must submit your application electronically with letters of support and approval from the AOA State Optometric Affiliate no later than July 2, 2018.  Note:  Multiple grants may be awarded within the same state. 

Click here to download a Microsoft Word version of the HEHC Application to assist with your planning process. 
Click here to download a Microsoft Excel budget template required for submission of the HEHC Application. 

Have questions or need additional information?
Contact Optometry Cares at or fill out an information request form. 


Your investment will ensure that The AOA Foundation continues to provide immediate relief to those in need in the wake of natural disasters, vision care to needy Americans, scholarships for optometry students, preservation of optometry’s history and public education about the need for a lifetime of vision care.

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