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Aug
13

News Release: RPB Launches Low Vision Research Initiative

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) is launching a new research initiative to address urgent needs in understanding and treating low vision. The $1.2 million, two-pronged initiative involves funding partnerships with Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation (RDPFS). Low vision is among the 10 most common causes of disability in the U.S., with the National Eye Institute (NEI) estimating that three million people in the U.S. have low vision.

“Low vision is a major, neglected and specific condition with a variety of causes and a common outcome: permanently reduced vision that cannot be improved with regular eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery, causing difficulty in everyday activities of living such as reading, walking and making a meal,” says RPB President Brian F. Hofland, PhD. “With these grants we are asking leading scientists to address complex aspects of degraded visual processing with the goal of expanding key knowledge, developing new treatment approaches, and generating technology solutions to enhance vision for those with some remaining sight.”

Both partnership grants are intended to provide seed funding for high-risk/high-gain, innovative, cutting-edge research which demonstrates out-of-the-box thinking.

The $300,000 RPB/Lions Clubs International Foundation Low Vision Research Award, to be given annually for the next three years, targets damage to the visual system.

“RPB and LCIF were also partners in the late 1960s in the effort that created the NEI,” says Hofland. “We are extremely pleased to be working together again to target fundamental gaps in current knowledge in the field of low vision.”

Some of the issues awardees will be challenged to tackle are: What happens to degraded visual input and how is it processed? What are the adaptive strategies in the visual pathway in response to visual impairment? How does the brain re-organize itself in response to visual system damage? How can the visibility of objects be enhanced?

“LCIF has a long history of offering programs to help those whose sight is compromised but correctable,” says Joe Preston, Chairperson, LCIF Board of Trustees. “By entering into this research grant partnership with RPB, LCIF is expanding its capacity while remaining true to one of our core commitments – ensuring the gift of sight. This is a very timely opportunity for us because, as baby boomers are aging, there is a dramatic rise in the prevalence of eye disorders that produce low vision. Our aim is to stay ahead of the curve in expanding knowledge and finding solutions.”

The RPB/Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation Innovations in Technology Low Vision Research Award will provide up to $100,000 over one year and will be awarded in each of three years to promote the development of assistive devices for persons with low vision. The award will support solutions for persons with remaining functional vision rather than those who are totally blind, with a focus on mobile and/or wearable innovations that can be implemented on multiple platforms, such as electronic tablets or phones. It will also support environmental adaptations which can improve a visually impaired individual’s ability to perform a daily living activity.

“At the Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation we believe that blind and visually impaired persons should have the tools and resources necessary to lead independent, productive lives,” says Susan Olivo, Executive Director. “This partnership with Research to Prevent Blindness fits perfectly with our funding model of supporting non-profit organizations that share our philosophy. We are particularly interested, in this case, in funding interdisciplinary collaborations that bring together technical expertise coupled with real-life experience with persons with low vision.”

Says Hofland: “The RPB Board of Trustees has made a strategic decision to leverage our resources by creating partnerships with organizations whose missions align with RPB’s. With these two prominent and respected organizations as partners, we expect to make a difference for millions of people whose quality of life is significantly and negatively impacted by this often neglected condition.”

For the RPB/ RDPFS Innovations in Technology Low Vision Research Award, preliminary applications are due October 19, 2015. For the RPB/LCIF Low Vision Research Award, nominations are due no later than December 15. Applications will be initially evaluated by RPB/RDPFS and RPB/LCIF Review Committees based on innovation and potential significance for the low vision field, as well as on a candidate’s qualifications to carry out the proposed research. Guidelines, application forms and grant contact information are available at www.rpbusa.org in the Grants section under Low Vision Awards.

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Low vision refers to chronic vision impairment that is not correctable by eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicines or surgery, causing difficulty in common tasks of daily living such as reading, mobility (both walking and driving) and recognizing people and objects. Many eye disorders can lead to low vision, including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Injury to the eye or to a portion of the brain involved in sight can also produce low vision. The National Eye Institute estimated that nearly 3 million people in the U.S. had low vision in 2010 with projections that this number would increase to nearly 5 million in 2030 and 9 million in 2050.

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB)
RPB’s mission is to preserve and restore vision by supporting research to develop treatments, preventives and cures for all conditions that damage and destroy sight. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars into eye research, initiated and coordinated the creation of the National Eye Institute and fostered the development of the nation’s leading vision labs and scientists. As a result, RPB has been identified with nearly every major breakthrough in vision research in that time. www.rpbusa.org

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF)
LCIF is the charitable service arm of Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world. Lions Clubs International is 1.4 million members strong and present in 46,000+ clubs serving communities in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the globe. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired, championed youth initiatives and strengthened local communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects. For more information about Lions Clubs International and the foundation, visit www.lionsclubs.org.

Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation (RDPFS)
RDPFS is dedicated to increasing the self-reliance and dignity of blind and visually impaired persons. A respected funder in the field, RDPFS is also the publisher of Select Editions Large Type books and a co-sponsor of visionaware.org, the premier online resource for people coping with vision loss. www.rdpfs.org

Aug
11

LCIF is Responding to Typhoon Soudelor

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Typhoon Soudelor has devastated the Western Pacific region and has claimed dozens of lives already. Millions of families are without water, electricity or shelter. The storm has caused monsoon rains, high winds, flooding and landslides throughout the region.

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) responded immediately. A US$10,000 Emergency grant was awarded to the Lions of District 204 Micronesia forrelief efforts in Saipan. A US$200,000 Major Catastrophe grant was awarded to Multiple District 300 Taiwan to assist with both immediate needs and long-term reconstruction there.

When natural disasters strike, Lions can to rely on disaster relief grants and funds from LCIF to assist with crucial immediate and/or long-term reconstruction needs. Emergency grants provide up to US$10,000 for districts impacted by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis. When disasters occur on a much larger scale, Major Catastrophe grants are awarded for long-term reconstruction projects.

Please consider making a contribution to LCIF’s disaster relief fund to give hope to those who have been devastated by this disaster.

Radar image of Typhoon Soudelor approaching Taiwan

Radar image of Typhoon Soudelor approaching Taiwan, August 8, 2015

LION Magazine
Aug
7

In the July/August LION Magazine…

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In the July/August LION, become acquainted with 2015-16 International President, Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada, find out why a tree limb crushed a 21-year-old’s spine but not her spirit and learn how a club in North Dakota went from almost losing its charter to becoming a revived service powerhouse full of families.

Also in this issue:

In the Digital LION, watch videos about President Yamada and his theme, read stories from the LION vault and view the Higher Key Award recipients.

Visit the LION Magazine page to contact editors, view past issues and listen to the audio version of the magazine.

IMG_2445
Aug
6

LCIF Awards Disaster Relief Grants, July 2015

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When natural disasters strike, Lions are there to offer help and support. In times of need, Lions are able to rely on disaster relief grantsand funds from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). Emergency grants provide up to US$10,000 for districts impacted by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis.

In July 2015, LCIF awarded 11 emergency and disaster relief grants totaling US$90,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

Ivory Coast, District 403-A2
$10,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-F
$10,000 for landslide relief

Venezuela, District E-1DSC02897
$10,000 for flood relief

Philippines, District 301
$5,000 for typhoon relief

Brazil, District LD-8
$10,000 for flood relief

Brazil, District LD-2
$10,000 for flood relief

Illinois, USA, District 1-H
$10,000 for tornado relief

Pakistan, District 305-N1
$5,000 for flood relief

Kentucky, USA, District 43-Y
$10,000 for flood relief

India, District 323-G2
$5,000 for flood relief

Pakistan, District 305-S3
$5,000 for flood relief

 

Lions Clubs Youth Camp & Exchange
Aug
5

Youth Camp & Exchange Reporting – Submit by September 30!

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If you are a 2015-16 Youth Camp and Exchange (YCE) Program Chairperson planning the next season of Lions youth exchange stays and camps, please work with your District Governors and Council Chairpersons to submit your District YCE Report form (YCE-510D) and/or Multiple District YCE Report Form (YCE-510MD) to headquarters by September 30.  Completed forms can be submitted via email to youthexchange@lionsclubs.org or via post to Lions Clubs International, Service Activities Division, 300 W 22nd Street, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Submitting the YCE-510 form will ensure that your current appointment as chairperson and your 2015-2016 youth camp sessions are listed in the 2015-2016 edition of the online Lions Youth Camp & Exchange Directory.

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