With Support from San Diego Foundation, Students in Need Across San Diego County Will Be Provided Vision Care at School

March 16, 2023 – Chula Vista, CA –Today, representatives from San Diego Foundation, the San Diego Padres and Vision To Learn helped children at Harborside Elementary School try on their new eyeglasses for the first time. This is just one of more than 25 schools across San Diego County that will receive school-based vision services this year from nonprofit provider Vision To Learn. With a generous grant from San Diego Foundation, Vision To Learn plans in the coming year to provide over 1,300 students with the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life.

Vision To Learn is a nonprofit charity that provides children at schools in low-income communities with free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses. The program brings licensed optometrists to school sites, eliminating barriers to care that would otherwise prevent many students from getting the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life. Founded in 2012 by philanthropists Austin and Virginia Beutner, the organization has since provided more than 2 million students with vision screenings, 437,000 with eye exams, and 355,000 with glasses, in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

“San Diego Foundation’s support will help us toward our goal of providing access to eye care for children in need,” said Austin Beutner, Vision To Learn founder. “Every child, every school, everywhere in the country should have the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life.”

About one in four children, whether from a family with means or a family struggling to get by, will naturally need glasses.  Children who need glasses and don’t have them are more likely to be misdiagnosed with behavioral issues in kindergarten, be considered “slow” learners by 5th grade, and to drop out of high school.  Unfortunately, in low-income urban and rural communities, most children who need glasses don’t have them due to financial constraints, language barriers, unresponsive health bureaucracies or the simple fact there are no eye care professionals in their neighborhood.

This program solves the problem by bringing the glasses to the kids where they are almost every day—their local neighborhood school. So far at Harborside Elementary 567 students were provided with vision screenings, 129 with eye exams, and 123 with glasses, all at no cost to the student or their family. An additional 61 students are scheduled for eye exams at the school.

San Diego Foundation supported Vision to Learn with a $125,000 grant to provide vision services to students in Chula Vista Elementary School District, Sweetwater Union High School District and Cajon Valley Union School District. Vision to Learn’s work aligns with the San Diego Foundation Strategic Plan tactics related to fostering equity of opportunity for local K-12 students.

“San Diego Foundation is committed to partnering with nonprofit organizations enabling community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region,” said Pamela Gray Payton, Vice President, Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer. “Vision To Learn is a perfect example of how we can ensure children have equitable access to educational opportunity in our region.”

About Vision To Learn

Vision To Learn, a non-profit charity, was founded in 2012 by Austin Beutner and the Beutner Family Foundation. The program has helped children in over 750 low-income communities in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Vision To Learn serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach children; about 90% of kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and about 85% are Black and Latino. Vision To Learn has provided 2,178,030 children with eye care and more than 355,000 with glasses – all at no cost to children or their families.  This year another 100,000 children will be provided with glasses by Vision To Learn despite the challenge COVID-19 continues to present at schools.  For more information on Vision To Learn, please visit www.visiontolearn.org.

About San Diego Foundation

San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. The Education Initiative supports K-12 and higher education programs to extend opportunity to San Diego students as they prepare for success in life and work. For more than 47 years, SDF and its donors have granted more than $1.4 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at SDFoundation.org.


Damian Carroll, damian@visiontolearn.org, (818) 383-2335
Lorena Nava Ruggero, lruggero@sdfoundation.org, (619) 814-1365