Who stands as a Knight of the Blind in the Crusade against Darkness?
You do, when you support Lions Vision Services
For more than 50 years Lions Vision Services has empowered the blind and visually impaired in low income families across South Carolina to live safe and meaningful lives through an array of vision health services that now includes free health screenings, affordable eye surgeries, low vision equipment, and affordable hearing aids. With the rate of blindness and vision impairment set to double in the next decade, our work has never been more urgent or compelling.
We are an organization built on philanthropy – taking voluntary action for the common good. At its root, this term for giving means “a love of humankind.” Philanthropy is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. When you give to LVS, your gift saves sight and preserves a higher quality of life for our South Carolina neighbors who lack access to vision health that could transform their lives.
Your gift to LVS also leverages a regional community of partners and stakeholders. Every $1 contributed can be leveraged into an additional $5 in services thanks to the generosity of the physicians, surgery centers, and anesthesiologists we work with who donate some of their time and expertise.
We value your trust in this work and adhere to the Donor Bill of Rights and AFP Code of Ethics while also maintaining a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar to ensure that philanthropy at LVS merits the respect you deserve. LVS is a 501(c)3 organization, making all donations tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Your company may provide matching opportunities for your gift. You can double the impact of your gift by asking your company if they participate in a matching gift program.
Memorial & Honorarium gifts
Gifts to LVS provide a special way to honor or remember the legacy of friends and family members. You can celebrate a loved one with a tribute gift at any time.
Give Through Your IRA
If you are 70 1/2 years or older you can use your IRA as a charitable giving vehicle. Donations made directly to a nonprofit can count towards your Required Minimum Distribution.
Palmetto Guardians are monthly donors who extend their impact on sight conservation throughout the year. Like defenders from all walks of life, Palmetto Guardians are protecting our work at LVS throughout the year with monthly gifts of support. They are keepers of hope for our clients in low income families in every corner of the state who are relying on LVS for sight-saving services.
Become a Guardian today with a monthly gift of any amount.
Monthly giving is safe and easy to setup through our secure webpage. Making a smaller monthly gift will often increase the total giving you can provide over the course of the year.
For example, if you gave up one cup of coffee from Starbucks each week (roughly $1.85 + tax) you could invest $96.20 in sight conservation as a Palmetto Guardian, which would yield $481.00 in total services provided to the blind and visually impaired in low income families through our provider network.
The Sustaining Member program provides annual, sustaining support to LVS programs and operations. Donors who become Sustaining Members have a sustained and lasting impact on the blind and visually impaired living in low income families in South Carolina. Recognition for Sustaining Members includes an annual lapel pin with gifts of $50 or more. Sustaining Member giving levels include:
- $25 – Provides one pair of eyeglass frames to a low-income family
- $50 – Provides one electronic magnifier to empower independent living
- $75 – Completes one health screening to identify vision and hearing conditions
- $125 – Provides one eye exam and lenses to correct vision disabilities
- $800 – Provides one iPad with accessibility software for independent living
- $1,500 – Completes one cataract eye surgery to save a neighbor’s sight
Helen Keller Society
Few individuals have done as much to advance the cause for the blind and visually impaired than the late Helen Keller. Her address to the Lions Club International Convention in 1925 challenged us to be “Knights of the Blind” in the Crusade against Darkness. In honor of her legacy and the charge which became our mission, donors who become members of the Helen Keller Society answer her call to action by empowering those we serve. Helen Keller Society giving levels include:
- $1,000 – Supporter: Supports our work at LVS to transform lives with vision services, recognized by the receipt of a Dr. Franklin G. Mason Fellowship.
- $2,500 – Defender: Defends the livelihood of low-income families who have curable blindness by providing an eye surgery to save their sight.
- $5,000 – Advocate: Advocates for a more equitable and just society by ensuring vision health is a priority for all through LVS programs.
- $10,000+ – Knight: A champion for the blind with mounted investment in sight solutions, recognized with an induction to the Knights of the Blind Society.
Lions Clubs across South Carolina have a unique stake in the work and history of LVS. Since its beginning in 1969, Lions Vision Services has been the state charity of South Carolina Lions, benefiting from decades of service, leadership, and generosity of Lions Club members who advance our work.
Today Lions Clubs can continue the legacy of LVS through sharing our work with their members, encouraging Club members to become individual Sustaining Members through LVS, inviting LVS staff and Board Trustees to speak at Club meetings, volunteering to assist with client transportation, sharing vision-related health needs in your local communities, and making Club Contributions to the LVS Annual Fund.
These Club Contributions invest in the sustainability and success of LVS programs, ultimately expanding access to vision services in low income families in local communities across the state. Beginning in 2020 Club Contributions of $1,000 or more will be recognized with a patch for the Club’s banner in addition to being able to name a Dr. Franklin G. Mason Fellow.
Lifetime Giving Societies
Many individuals and organizations dedicate their lives to our shared vision: a vibrant community in which preventable blindness is eliminated, the blind and visually impaired have the resources necessary to live fulfilling lives, and public perception recognizes the potential and dignity of every blind and visually impaired person. To recognize those who have made a substantial investment in this vision, Lions Vision Services proudly recognizes donors through a tier of Lifetime Giving Societies that celebrate our past and invest in our future.
Dr. Franklin G. Mason Fellows – $1,000+
The Dr. Franklin G. Mason Fellowship (FMF) was established in 1974 in honor of Dr. Franklin Mason (1924 – 2019) of Mullins, SC, a Past International Director of Lions Clubs International, a Past Board Chair of Lions Vision Services, and individual leading supporter of LVS at the time. Dr. Mason’s combined personal contributions and marathon fundraisers have raised over $120,000 in support of vision services.
FMFs receive a lapel pin and commemorative plaque from LVS in recognition of unrestricted donations of $1,000. For each subsequent donation of $1,000 Progressive Franklin Mason Fellows receive a new chevron. If the donor desires, they may use their contribution to recognize another individual with a FMF. Lions Clubs, corporations, and other groups may also use unrestricted corporate contributions of $1,000 or more to recognize an individual as a FMF.
Knights of the Blind Society – $10,000+
Helen Keller charged Lions Clubs to be “Knights of the Blind” in the Crusade against Darkness in her address to the 1925 Lions Club International Convention. This charge, from which we derived our mission, remains emblematic and descriptive of the role of major donors at our organization.
Knights of the Blind Society members receive a medallion and a special certificate from LVS in recognition of unrestricted annual gifts of $10,000 or more as well as cumulative lifetime giving that has surpassed $10,000. If the donor desires, they may use their contribution to recognize another individual with induction to the Knights of the Blind Society.
Leon Campell Society – $50,000+
When Lions Vision Services was chartered in 1969, Leon Campell of Greenville, SC was elected the first Chairman of the Board/President of LVS. Leon stepped into this role after representing South Carolina as an International Director to Lions Clubs International and after previously serving as a member of the International Executive Council. Leon’s role in establishing early successes at LVS set the pace for decades of progress following his leadership tenure.
In recognition of our first volunteer leader, the Leon Campell Society recognizes unrestricted annual gifts of $50,000 or more as well as cumulative lifetime giving that has surpassed $50,000. If the donor desires, they may use their contribution to recognize another individual with induction to the Leon Campell Society.
Barbara Harter Rippy Society – $100,000+
For 34 years, Bobby and Barbara Rippy owned and operated Smith’s Drug Store on Main Street in Union, South Carolina. The Rippys have long been known for generosity of spirit as community leaders and benefactors, including active membership in the Union Lions Club, Union Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Union Merchants Association. Dr. Bobby Rippy was a U.S. Navy veteran, member and president of the Cowpens Lions Club.
In 2021 Barbara Harter Rippy made the largest single individual gift to LVS in the organization’s history of $100,000 to establish the Barbara Harter Rippy Society, a lifetime giving society that will inspire and recognize others who share her generous spirit and community leadership. The Barbara Harter Rippy Society recognizes unrestricted annual gifts of $100,000 or more as well as cumulative lifetime giving that has surpassed $100,000. If the donor desires, they may use their contribution to recognize another individual with induction to the Barbara Harter Rippy Society.
Thank you to the patrons and partners who generously support our work.
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