When it comes to meeting challenges, our response is simple: We serve. Our volunteer projects unite Lions around the world. And our work is unconditional. We aren’t limited by continents or restricted to certain causes. Lions help wherever, whenever and however we can.
More than four decades ago, Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) helped people in need for the first time by bringing some relief to flood victims in South Dakota, USA. Since then, through the support of Lions and our partners, we have been able to expand our service work in scope and reach and become an internationally-recognized humanitarian organization. The Foundation has been there for people experiencing hardship all around the world through awarding US$826 million for restoring sight, providing disaster relief, supporting youth and serving humanitarian needs.
Lions Clubs worldwide seek out unmet needs in the world and create programming to meet them. Through programs like SightFirst, Lions Quest and Opening Eyes, the Foundation has worked to take action to improve millions of lives. But don’t take our word for it—read stories from people directly affected by or involved in our work on the next pages. The impact we make on their individual lives is at the heart of everything we do:
Our sight programs have changed the lives of millions. There may be many, but each person who has had their sight restored or improved has a story to tell—a story of living with frustration, fear or helplessness, then having that unexpected moment of seeing the world through their own eyes, and going on to embrace a new life with vision. Being able to help people in this way is unforgettable, and is often the result of a simple operation or gift of eyeglasses. At an average of just US$6 to restore someone’s sight, giving a man back his independence, enabling a child see the chalkboard at school or allowing a grandmother to see her grandchild for the first time, is priceless.
Giving young people the opportunities to have healthy childhoods, feel safe and cared for and mature into productive, confident adults is central to LCIF’s work. Young people deserve to to learn, have shelter and gain skills to help them lead the lives of their dreams. Through the Foundation’s youth programs, we hope to do all of this and more. Whether it’s teaching students skills to make positive decisions through Lions Quest, equipping a youth health clinic or building a place for children to call home, LCIF is changing children’s lives every day.
When a fire, hurricane, tsunami or other disaster strikes anywhere in the world, LCIF is there to offer help. And we stay for as long as it takes to finish the work. From Japan to New Zealand to Haiti, we are giving strength, resiliency and hope to those who have lost everything. The Foundation plays a role in helping them get through the toughest times, and in rebuilding their lives.
Humanitarian service is the cornerstone of the Lions Club’s mission, and that service is conducted in a wide range of ways. The needs of each community vary as much as the people, which is why local Lions identify the projects that can make a real difference. It might be bringing running water to a remote village, enabling a teacher to truly hear her students for the first time or helping a Special Olympics athlete see the finish line more clearly. Every project the Foundation funds involves meeting authentic needs and transforming lives. When we hear that life got a little easier or is filled with new possibilities, it inspires us to continue our work.
The Foundation values the special relationships we have with our many organizational and corporate partners. By supporting each other, sharing expertise and working together to meet common goals, we accomplish more, and do our work more effectively. We love to share our appreciation for our partners, but we would like you to hear from them too.
Lions are united in their inspirational spirit of giving and dedication to helping others, whether they are next door or halfway around the world. It is because of this generosity that the Foundation has been able to award more than US$811 million since our founding. Lions are inspired for different reasons to donate, but they are all committed to our mission of helping to make their vital humanitarian work possible. And because Lions see their donations in action, they know their gifts really matter.