Since its establishment in 1996, the Partnership Foundation for Optometric Education had become a genuine “partnership” for the optometric community to invest in the future of our profession. Despite this unique distinction, the Partnership’s Board of Directors deliberated about the future direction of the organization. The combined challenges of the economic climate and the changing needs of the profession have impacted the level of funding the Partnership received each year. Additionally, the original goals of the Partnership, which focused on reaching a goal of $25 million and using funds for capital improvements and modernization, were no longer a priority for optometry’s educational institutions.
To this end, the Partnership’s Board signed an agreement with the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) to establish the Partnership Endowment. The Partnership’s $3.5 million fund balance was transferred to the new Partnership Endowment with two specific goals. The first goal is to aid the schools and colleges with their current needs. Each year, a percentage of the Endowment’s investment income will be available through grants for programs or projects to advance optometric education. The second goal is to continue to grow the Partnership Endowment to ensure that funding is available for future generations.
In developing the Partnership Endowment, ASCO embraced the genuine “partnership” for the optometric community to invest in the future of the profession. This decision was a true collaboration between ASCO, the American Optometric Association, and the American Academy of Optometry. Each organization felt this was a positive step in providing support optometric education.
To achieve this, when funding is available, the Partnership Endowment will provide grants to contributing institutions to support the following:
- Faculty development
- Creating a diverse, highly – qualified applicant pool
- Develop new optometric pedagogies
- Developing new technologies for delivering optometric didactic education, clinical training and continuing education
- Any other purpose deemed by ASCO’s Board of Directors that contributes to the overall advancement of optometric education.
For more information about the Partnership Endowment, please contact Christine Armstrong, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.