Disease, Disorders, Medical Disciplines

Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington

aka POB   |   Washington, DC   |  http://www.youreyes.org

Mission

Founded in 1936, the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington (POB) is dedicated to the improvement and preservation of sight and quality of life by providing services and education, and by championing healthy vision and innovation to everyone in our area.

Ruling year info

1947

Executive Director

Ms. Caren Forsten

Main address

415 2nd Street NE Suite 200

Washington, DC 20002 USA

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EIN

53-0204690

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Eye Diseases, Blindness and Vision Impairments (G41)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Founded in 1936, the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington (POB) is dedicated to the improvement and preservation of sight and quality of life by providing services and education, and by championing healthy vision and innovation to everyone in our area. POB's headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., and the organization serves the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George's counties of Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Children's Vision Programs: Pre-School and School-Age

Pre-School: POB provides screenings for more than 6,000 preschool-age children each year. Screenings test for distance acuity, amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (a turned eye). Screening at a young age can result in early detection and treatment that could prevent or slow vision loss. POB’s program handles all referrals of children not passing the vision tests, and also provides resource information and counseling to their families. School-Age: POB provides free screenings, examinations, and prescription eyeglasses to school-age children in unserved and underserved communities. Screenings test for distance acuity, amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (a turned eye), and color blindness. A volunteer licensed eye doctor then provides a free on-site examination to determine the proper eyeglasses prescription for children in need of vision correction. Students then select their own frames and are fitted by our licensed optician. New eyeglasses are delivered to the students approximately two weeks later. Children identified with a need for further evaluation are referred for follow-up.

Population(s) Served
Infants to preschool (under age 5)
K-12 (5-19 years)
Budget
$376,418

POB provides free glaucoma and visual acuity screenings to adults in the area at workplaces, places of worship, community health events, etc. Glaucoma is a silent disease that slowly blinds people from the peripheral vision inwards. Early detection and treatment are important to slow the progression of this severe blinding disease. According to Prevent Blindness, the District of Columbia has among the highest incidence of rate of glaucoma in the country. Those at highest risk for glaucoma include: African Americans over age 40; everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics; those with other health conditions, such as diabetes; and people with a family history of glaucoma.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Budget
$120,560

POB provides prescription eyeglasses to individuals in-need at low- or no-cost. Prescription glasses start at $35 and financial assistance is available. POB offers this service at our headquarters, located at 233 Massachusetts Avenue NE, and also offers a mobile program to local nonprofit organizations. In the mobile program, POB provides services on-site of another nonprofit organization, in an effort to remove time and transportation as barriers to quality care.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
Adults
Budget
$215,594

POB aims to address the issues of isolationism among those with visual impairment by providing emotional and social support to individuals facing vision loss. Topics discussed include education, technology resource sharing, and adaptations made by low vision individuals. Meetings are held at community-based locations including retirement facilities, community centers, and libraries.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Aging, elderly, senior citizens
Budget
$178,310

POB offers a variety of services for people with low vision, including examinations and personalized rehabilitation programs, administered by an optometrist specializing in low vision in Alexandria, VA, Bethesda, MD, and Washington, DC. Each program is designed based on a person’s needs, the tasks they want to perform, and the skills and devices a low vision specialist believes will help them reach their goals.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Budget
$154,995

Where we work

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

POB is committed to creating, expanding, and adapting sight-saving services based on the needs of our community, as voiced directly by those we serve. POB is Greater Washington’s vision health leader and educator, dedicated not only to blindness prevention, but to the improvement and preservation of sight and quality of life for all community members. Each year, POB screens more than 8,000 children for vision loss and strabismus and thousands of adults for glaucoma. These screening services cover a wide range of needs, sometimes resulting in early detection and treatment that could prevent or slow vision loss. Early detection gives a person the best chance to prevent blindness and preserve sight. Many children and adults that POB assists do not receive annual physicals and eye exams, which means we provide their only vision assistance. POB operates an eyeglasses clinic in Northeast D.C. for its Eyeglasses for the Needy program, which provides affordable eyeglasses to thousands of low-income and homeless community members each year. It also offers Low Vision Rehabilitation and Resource Navigation. which helps community members with low vision retain their independence through low vision examinations, personalized vision rehabilitation, and navigation from a trained professional. POB sponsors the Low Vision Resource & Support Group Network that provides public programs and support groups for those living with low vision. Education for individuals dealing with vision loss is an invaluable resource to help them make the most of what sight they have. POB regularly sponsors programs that address issues that are important to these individuals as well as their loved ones and facilitates several support and discussion groups to give these individuals a venue to learn and share with others facing vision loss. POB also offers programs to educate the public about eye health and topics related to vision loss. Providing the public with the latest eye health information and low vision resources helps community members make informed decisions. With workshops, guest speakers, information on local resources, Low Vision Learning Centers, print publications and more, POB can offer the community vision health education from a trusted source.

Annually, POB impacts 13,000 community members through our suite of evidence-based programs - including vision acuity and glaucoma screenings, eyeglasses distributions and fittings, educational vision resources and events, low vision rehabilitation services and support group networks - and more. Our commitment to comprehensive vision health, ethical commitment to service within the community, deep respect for patients and families in all circumstances, innovation in service delivery, and ability to serve as a facilitator among our medical and social service peers distinguish POB in the region, which we provide through a series of community initiatives. POB provides screenings for more than 5,000 preschool-age children each year through our Preschool-Age Children’s Vision Screening program. Screening at a young age can result in early detection and treatment that could prevent or slow vision loss. POB’s program handles all referrals of children not passing the vision tests, and also provides resource information and counseling to their families. POB provides free screenings, examinations, and prescription eyeglasses to more than 2,000 school-age children in unserved and underserved communities with our School-Age Children’s Vision Screening program and the Pediatric Mobile Clinic. A volunteer licensed eye doctor then provides a free on-site ophthalmic evaluation. Children identified with a need for further evaluation are referred to Children’s National Health System. POB’s Adult Glaucoma and Visual Acuity Screening provides free glaucoma and visual acuity screenings to adults in the area at workplaces, places of worship, community health events, etc. Early detection and treatment are important to slow the progression of this severe blinding disease. Our Adult Eyeglasses Program provides prescription eyeglasses to individuals in-need at low- or no-cost. In the mobile program, POB provides services on-site of another nonprofit organization, in an effort to remove time and transportation as barriers to quality care. The Low Vision Resource & Support Group Network addresses the issues of isolationism among those with visual impairment by providing emotional and social support, as well as providing eye health education, technology resource sharing, and adaptations one can make to individuals facing vision loss. Meetings are held at community-based locations including retirement facilities, community centers, libraries, and via telephone. POB offers a variety of services for people with low vision, including examinations and personalized rehabilitation programs, administered by an optometrist specializing in low vision. POB supports the only full-time low vision rehabilitation practice in the area, a program desperately needed in the D.C. Metropolitan region that has more than 40,000 blind or visually impaired individuals, and thousands more with sight-threatening diseases.

Our organization has provided vision screening services for children since 1946. All of POB’s programs are overseen by POB’s volunteer Medical Committee. This 20-person Committee ensures that across our service delivery, POB aligns to evidence-based, medically-backed interventions and solutions. Committee members also serve as medical advisors to each of our programs, providing ongoing professional guidance and recommendations to our program staff in their day-to-day work. The Committee reviews output and outcome reports from our program directors. POB is governed by a 27-member board of trustees, which is comprised of local professionals in the fields of ophthalmology, medicine, community development, law, finance, nonprofit management, and more. The Board maintains fiduciary responsibility for the organization, and provides oversight of our staff leadership and strategic growth. Through Committees, the Board oversees specific POB programs (children’s screenings, adult glaucoma, low vision support groups, eyeglasses, low vision resources), as well as critical organizational functions (communications, fundraising). Our Board of Trustees is currently led by Board President Jennie Kronthal, an independent law practice professional. POB consists of 12 full-time and 19 part-time staff, with tenures ranging from a few months to more than 20 years. Administrative and programmatic staff are in place to make all programs successful, and key strategic partnerships are vital to the success of the organization. Our partners allow us to provide these much needed services at a location convenient to their constituents, such as schools and other nonprofit organizations. Committed to continued improvement and public engagement in our work, POB convenes two Community Task Forces, bringing together medical experts and providers, engaged residents, and the users of vision support services themselves, to identify community needs and opportunities to expand and enhance available services relating to these topics. They are valuable opportunities for self-advocacy among our clients and others impacted by vision challenges, and also as key voices in guiding POB’s own future work.

Organization-wide, our goal is to create a comprehensive program data collection, monitoring and evaluation system that all programs utilize. This will move our organization forward to an impact measurement model. We are aiming to average at least 10,000 children screened each fiscal year, correctly referring to 1,000 children for needed eye care. POB also plans to increase successful follow-up (child referred gets to eye doctor for needed care) by 20% (55% to 66%). Additionally, we hope to further our activism in additional community settings outside of schools (reaching the pre-school age children not enrolled in school). Out School-Age Children’s Vision Screening and Pediatric Mobile Clinic aims to grow partnerships with DC and Montgomery County Public Schools to become eye care provider for Title 1 schools, gain capabilities for Medicaid billing through program to create a more sustainable model for growth, and over three years, provide prescription eyeglasses to 2,000 children in need at no cost. The Adult Eyeglasses Clinic and Vision Screening Programs plan to expand locations to Prince George’s County and SE DC to better reach community members, utilize new technology in community screening programs, fulfill 3,600+ eyeglasses prescriptions over the next three years, and continue along other metric-based measurements of success. Additionally, POB has strong and proven data collection and analysis practices for each of our unique programs. Monthly reports are created to monitor and evaluate progress toward outcome goals. Follow-up consists of calls, emails and texts to schools/centers, parents and doctors to confirm the child had a doctor’s appointment and care they need. Information is recorded and compared to the original referral for accuracy. Quality control measures help ensure exceptional service to the community. Vision Screening Program success is measured by the number of children who receive the eye care they need.

Last year, POB provided free vision screenings and examinations to over 6,000 children in the Greater Washington area, referring 802 children for further evaluation. POB is committed to serving children in more disadvantaged areas in the region, and expanded screenings in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Wards 5, 7, and 8 in the District of Columbia: nearly 3,300 children were screened in the District in 2018-19, a majority of which in these Wards. Last year, we provided free vision screenings to 813 children (ages 5-18). Of those 813 children, 192 children (23%) were deemed in need of an evaluation from our on-site volunteer eye doctor. Our volunteer eye doctor evaluated 188 children and determined that 186 needed treatment by way of prescription eyeglasses. POB provided over 3,000 free glaucoma and visual acuity screenings in 2019, positively identifying 16.6% of individuals as needing further evaluation, an increase from 15.5% the previous year.. POB also hosted a glaucoma awareness community health event with Dr. Arthur Schwartz of Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons in 2019. The Eyeglasses Program annually provides prescription eyeglasses to more than 750 individuals in-need at low- or no-cost. Additionally, we developed a partnership with So Others May Eat (SOME)’s medical clinic to provide free eyeglasses to individuals experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC. Last year, POB had over 900 community touches at Low Vision Resource events within Greater Washington. In addition to our eight monthly support groups, POB is expanding to include four additional facilitated meetings per month for the 2020-2021 year. POB is on track to have more than 1,200 community touches within Greater Washington this year. The Low Vision Center existed as an independent nonprofit organization for more than 40 years and made the decision to close its doors at the end of 2019. POB recognized the importance of this service to the low vision community and have agreed to assume and grow this program without interruption. Last year, we focused on increasing capacity for this program by hiring a scheduler/administrative assistant for the program, developed an outreach program for practice administrations, and distributed the practice information to referring providers. Continued growth, including recruiting additional low vision doctors, is a priority. POB continually identifies and meets emerging community needs in its programs and fundraising efforts. The organization has established partnerships with several community resources to provide more opportunities for eye care and more eye health information to the people who need it most. POB also hosts an annual Night of Vision® gala and Eye Run for POB 5K run and 2 mile fun run/walk to raise awareness and funds, and it operates two Look Again® resale shops – one in Alexandria, VA and one in Kensington, MD – with proceeds benefiting local sight-saving programs.

Financials

Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington

Board of directors
as of 6/3/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Jennie Kronthal

Tracey Prince Ross

Trinity Washington University

Wendy Gasch

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

Mindi Sauter

Marcia Williamson

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Andrew Adelson

Eye Physicians of Washington

Allen Beach

Susan Bick

Five Star Premier Residences of Chevy Chase

Jan Brown

Jeffrey Chung

The Offices of Jeffrey Y.H. Chung, M.D.

Virginia Elgin

Rachel Foster

Fostering Innovation, LLC

John Guzik

The Franklin Partnership, LLP

Maxwell Helfgott

Eye Physicians of Washington

Mohamad Jaafar

Children's National Health System

Tara Kavadias

Catherine Krupka

Eversheds Sutherlands US LLP

Maureen Macfadden

Merck & Co.

Donna Oser

Christine Rocchio

Delta Gamma Fraternity

Jennifer Valentine

Kaiser Permanente

Gedalia Vera

G.V. Photography & Videography

Dorothy Weinstein

The George Washington University

Edward Woodard

Lions of Northern Virginia

Uchechi Wosu

MedStar Health

Brian Wright

The George Washington University

Jan Brown

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Jan Brown

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Keywords

vision, sight, eyes, eyeglasses, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, stargardt disease, strabismus, amblyopia