Jonas Philanthropies Announces $1.25 Million Gift to Columbia University Department of Ophthalmology

The gift will continue to fund a program to treat children with severe vision disorders 

NOVEMBER 29, 2021Jonas Philanthropies today announced a five-year gift renewal of $1.25 million to the Columbia University Department of Ophthalmology to continue their support of the successful Jonas Children’s Vision Care (JCVC) program. The JCVC program provides accessible vision care to children and their families. This funding will allow the program to expand its clinical care to all children, including those who are underserved.  The gift also will enable JCVC to treat and diagnose more children in need, fund one of the only children-focused genetic counseling programs in the tri-state area, and educate and train ophthalmologists and specialists.  

Jonas Children’s Vision Care was established six years ago in the Department of Ophthalmology at Columbia University for families and children with vision issues seeking information about and access to innovative therapies. Over the past years, the JCVC program has achieved tremendous growth in providing advanced eye care for children and has received 20,745 visits from children and their families. As part of this effort, the JCVC program has provided 3,560 children with diagnostic ocular testing and imaging and performed 610 eye surgeries to treat strabismus, amblyopia, corneal vascular problems, cataracts, glaucoma, and numerous other sight-threatening conditions. 

With this renewed funding, the program will aim to serve more children and families by expanding applied genetics through state, national and international outreach. It also will focus on translating scientific discoveries into therapies for children and accelerating ophthalmology gene therapy clinical trials related to children.  Additionally, the gift will help to accelerate scientific discoveries to prevent vision loss by expanding and recruiting researchers focused on genetic diseases in children as well as train the leaders of tomorrow in pediatric ophthalmology. 

“After much progress and success in delivering quality eye care to children and their families through JCVC, we look forward to extending this program with Columbia Ophthalmology for another five years,” Jonas Philanthropies Vice President John Jonas said. “It was my father’s passion to provide children with vision care, and I’m proud that we can once again invest in Columbia’s effective pediatric vision programs so that they can continue offering specialized care to children in need.”

“Through a program launched six years ago with the gracious support of Barbara and Donald Jonas, we are thrilled to continue our relationship with Jonas Philanthropies in our major effort to treat children with vision disorders. No child should start life experiencing these challenges,” said Jack Cioffi, MD, Chair of Ophthalmology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. 

In 2016, Jonas Children’s Vision Care was established to ensure that other families wouldn’t experience the same suffering and uncertainty from severe vision loss that Jonas Philanthropies’ founder Donald Jonas experienced. With this renewed support, JCVC is dedicated to continuing its great work providing children and their families with comprehensive and specialized medical and surgical eye care. For more information on JCVC, visit

About Jonas Philanthropies 

Jonas Philanthropies is transforming our communities for the better by investing where it matters most, in solutions that can be scaled for the most significant impact. Its programs address high-need issues and audiences with high-impact solutions: promoting leadership in nursing and veterans healthcare, preventing and treating low vision and blindness, protecting our children’s environmental health, and taking care of our climate. For more information about Jonas Philanthropies, visit, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

About Jonas Vision Health

Jonas Vision Health is a program of Jonas Philanthropies. Through its three multifaceted initiatives, Jonas Vision Health has worked with partners to bring quality vision care to children in need. First, Jonas Vision Health has partnered with Columbia Ophthalmology to bring about the recently renewed “JCVC” program described above. Secondly, Jonas Vision Health works collaboratively with Warby Parker on their Pupils Project in New York City which helps eliminate the barriers that prevent underserved kids from getting proper vision care. Through the Pupil’s Project, the partnership helps administer vision screenings and eye exams in classrooms and provide prescription glasses. Since schools were out for COVID, the program was halted but has been reinstated since September. Thirdly, during COVID, Jonas Vision Health worked to set up an alternative route to ensure that children have access to proper vision care partnering with Vision To Learn to bring vision care to eleven youth programs in New Jersey. For many kids, this was their first pair of glasses and a life-changing event. For more information about Jonas Vision Health, visit, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.


Elle Communications