The Knights Templar Eye Foundation

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation is another example of how Masonic organizations benefit their communities through charitable service and community organization. Founded by the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the United States in 1956, the mission of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation is to provide assistance to people with vision problems with corrective lenses, surgery, and other treatment options who are struggling to manage the costs of their vision care.

The primary method by which the Knights Templar Eye Foundation assists with these individuals is through financial assistance. If a person finds that they can not cover the costs of their vision care, including surgery, and that person has been denied for financial assistance through the various programs available through local, state, and federal agencies, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation is often able to assist in paying for the treatments required. Although no eye doctors or medical personnel are employed by the Foundation, many choose to donate their time and experience to help those who have come to the Foundation for assistance, either through consultation or through research programs organized by the Foundation.

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation does not discriminate in its efforts to assist people who need their help. Charity is extended to all who truly require their assistance, without regard to their gender, race, national origin, or creed. If a person meets the organization’s financial guidelines for assistance, and has been turned down by other assistance programs, the Foundation lends a hand. Although the primary purpose of the Foundation is to help pay for eye surgeries, assistance in obtaining eyeglasses for use after a successful operation is performed is also often granted.

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation funds its work almost entirely through charitable donations made by both members of the Knights Templar and other non-members who appreciate the work the Foundation does and want to help them achieve their goals. This is done primarily through fund-raising drives, although the Foundation does also maintain an Endowment Fund, an investment vehicle in which earnings from the fund are used to provide additional assistance to those in need. The Foundation assists approximately two thousand people with the costs of their vision care every year, and has helped over 76,000 people since its inception.

If someone is looking for a positive impact that the Freemason community provides to the greater society as a whole, they need look no further than the Knights Templar Eye Foundation of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the United States. This charitable group has been providing the kind of service to the community that Freemasons have become known for over the course of five decades, and it is imagined that they will continue to provide their service to the community for many decades to come.

*Update Below*

 On December 31, 2010, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., by direction of the board, shifted the Foundation’s focus and adopted a new mission statement “to improve vision through research, education, and supporting access to care.” The Foundation now only participates in direct patient care through the Seniors Eye Care Program in partnership with EyeCare America and the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. With this change, the Foundation is benefiting untold millions in generations to come through grants that support research and education. Our research dollars have helped develop new, nonsurgical, treatments for strabismus (crossed eyes) and ophthalmologists have told us that our efforts in funding pediatric ophthalmology research have been the primary reason that there are fewer and fewer surgeries for strabismus.