In Minnesota, Lions Clubs International members represent some of the state’s most dedicated volunteers. There are more than 20,000 Lions and Lioness members in Minnesota and more than 600 Lions clubs statewide.
Through the work of the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation, Lions Gift of Sight has been generously supported by the Lions of Minnesota since 1960.
Lions and the University
The Minnesota Lions first formed a partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Ophthalmology in 1960 when they established the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank. This partnership, known as the Lions Sight Program, has grown to include the following:
Lions Children’s Eye Clinic. The clinic opened in 1978 and has worked to provide quality service to infants, children, and teens ever since. With four dedicated pediatric ophthalmologists, the clinic is the second largest and best-staffed clinic of its kind in the country. More than 8,000 children are seen every year.
Ophthalmology Research and the Lions Research Building. The University of Minnesota’s Lions Research Building, which opened its doors in 1993, includes a state-of-the-art laboratory where investigators from the departments of ophthalmology, otolaryngology, and neurology collaborate with other University departments on research projects.
Minnesota Lions Macular Degeneration Research and Rehabilitation Center (The MAC), established in 1998 to research the causes of—and cures for—a disease that affects the central vision and is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. The MAC brings together the expertise of physicians, the research of various departments around the University, and the knowledge of those in the medical technology industry. It is a powerful collaboration of resources dedicated to finding a cure for macular degeneration
Minnesota Lions Fund to Prevent Blindness in Infants and Children. Created in 2010, the Fund supports infant and children’s eye research, education, and care at the Department of Ophthalmology in the University of Minnesota Medical School. The goal of the Fund is to give every child a lifetime of sight.
Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation
The Lions Sight Program is supported by the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation, Inc. The Vision Foundation funds the operating expenses of the Lions Gift of Sight, their first and largest project, and provides a board of directors that gives fiscal oversight to the eye bank. The Foundation partners with Lions of Minnesota, Lions Gift of Sight, and the University of Minnesota to increase public awareness about eye donation.
In addition to their work with the eye bank, the non-profit foundation aids in funding research projects and equipment for University of Minnesota vision programs and fosters, advances, and promotes vision-related scientific, educational, or charitable aims and projects of other individuals or associations. The Foundation also facilitates used eyeglass recycling in Minnesota.
For more information on the the Lions and the work of the Foundation, please visit the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation web site.