Efforts we support
Drive for Vision Golf is an annual fundraising event that directly benefits the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) and Cherry Street Health Services Vision Program. Our club, in conjunction with our sponsor, Grand Rapids Ophthalmology, raises funds for many programs to aid the visually-impaired and other under-served populations within our community. It’s not only a great event for golfers, but one that also supports many worthwhile causes.
Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) The mission of the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (ABVI) is to advance the independence of people who are blind or visually impaired and assist with the prevention of vision loss through tailored services and community education. ABVI teaches those who are visually impaired new ways to manage their daily lives so they can enjoy life while retaining independence and self-sufficiency. Founded in 1913 and now more than 100 years old, ABVI serves thirteen counties in West Michigan.
Cherry Street Health Services We are proud to provide funding in support of the Grand Rapids Lions Club Vision Clinic at Cherry Street Health Services that offers eye exams and glasses for the under-served of our community. This year about 9,000 individuals will be accommodated. Grand Rapids Ophthalmology provides the frames and lenses at their cost.
Central American Vision Mission Each year, Lions collect used eyeglasses throughout the area which are then cleaned, categorized by prescription and carefully packed for transport. Local Lions then travel with the glasses to Central America and set up shop to examine and prescribe appropriate eyewear for the disadvantaged in various countries. We dispense between 3,000-4,000 pairs of glasses every year which restore good sight to many who would otherwise be without these professional services.
Blind Dinner Date Our annual fundraising dinner allows the club to highlight local programs and people that help children who live with vision loss. All monies raised benefit Cherry Street Health Services Vision Clinic, Early vision program for children at Ken-O-Sha, Youth programs at the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Welcome Home For the Blind’s outreach program, and Grand Rapids Lions Community Foundation. Growing every year since its inception, the event raised $20,000 for distribution to these charities in 2013.
Michigan Eye Bank & Transplantation Center Approximately 1500 corneal transplants are performed each year in Michigan. But for every fortunate recipient of this priceless gift, many others wait because of the lack of available donors. To help raise awareness for the need of corneal donation, Grand Rapids Lions travel West Michigan spreading the word about the benefits of organ donation including corneal gifts.
Our club also contributes financially to the Eye Bank supporting Research Grant Programs involving initial research about the causes and prevention of blinding eye diseases. “Buddy Day” is a partnership between the Secretary of State, the Gift of Life, and the Michigan Eye-Bank for which the Lions volunteer.
The Miracle League has established more than 250 local organizations across the country, including four in Michigan (Southfield, Plymouth, Saginaw, and Lansing). We have partnered with the West Michigan Sports Commission to build a Miracle Field sports complex for youth sports in West Michigan. The field will be part of a larger state-of-the-art baseball/softball complex in Rockford.
Leader Dog for the Blind Located in Rochester, Michigan, this unique school trains more than 275 leader dogs each year. After training, the school carefully matches a blind candidate with their special faithful companion to help return the person to a life of confident mobility. The Grand Rapids Lions lead a statewide fund raising effort that has provided over $250,000 to the Leader Dog program over the last few years.
High School Student Recognition In May of each year, the Grand Rapids Lions provide a recognition award to two high school students from each of the five GR public high schools, the two Catholic high schools, the Christian high school and East Grand Rapids high school. The award recipients are selected by their respective principals and guidance counselors and are provided for a combination of academic, athletic and community service excellence. The students, their principal and the top administrators of Kent County schools join the Lions for a special recognition luncheon where the awards are presented.
Sports & Activity Day In support of, and with grants from, the Children’s Miracle Network and DeVos Children’s Hospital, Grand Rapids Lions assist visually impaired youngsters for an active day of sports activity. The Lions have participated in this event from its beginning by organizing the food, drinks and refreshments.
Lions White Cane One afternoon each year, our executive and professional club members take to the street corners in downtown Grand Rapids to collect money for the White Cane Drive. This year, we collected $5,000 from the generous people in our town. Proceeds from this event are used to fund programs for visually and neuro-visually impaired children at Ken-O-Sha School in Grand Rapids. You may click here to make a tax-deductible donation online if you’d like to support this important cause.
Children’s Christmas Shopping In December each year, and in cooperation with Meijer in Cascade, the Lions help disadvantaged youngsters conduct Christmas shopping for their families. Each participating child is given a budgeted amount of spending money and is assisted by a club member as they shop. Santa also attends this event and spreads some cheer while we help the kids wrap their purchases. Breakfast is provided and the Christmas spirit touches all.
Hug A Tree Project Our club plans to plant 113 trees locally, one in honor of each member of the Grand Rapids Lions Club. The club’s partners in our tree planting project are the City of Grand Rapids Forestry Department, the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and the Lions District organization.
Eyeglass Recycling & Drop-Off You may have noticed one or more of our many eyeglass recycling and collection boxes at stores and other locations around West Michigan. We collect these used eyeglasses throughout the area, clean them, categorize them by prescription, and carefully pack them for transport. Local Lions then travel with the glasses to countries in Central America and set up shop to examine and prescribe appropriate eyewear for the disadvantaged in these countries. With the help of people in West Michigan who donate their used glasses, we dispense between 3,000-4,000 pairs of glasses every year which restore good sight to children and adults who would otherwise be without these professional services.
Click here to find a drop-off location.
Grand Rapids Lions Club Activities Commission This is our club’s 501(c)(3) charitable organization which supports local and international charities including Grand Rapids Lions Club Vision Clinic at Cherry Street Health, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Ken-O-Sha School, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Michigan Eye Bank, and many other organizations. Our EIN for charitable donations is 38-6077989. You may click here to make a tax-deductible charitable donation to help us support these worthy causes.
Calendar Raffle (text coming)
Grand Rapids Lions Club Foundation: Much of the community assistance we are privileged to provide is made possible by funding from the Grand Rapids Lions Club Foundation which is administered by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. For more information about the fund, or to make a donation, please email Lynn Francis: lynn