Better Vision. Better Hearing. Better Georgia.

Our Mission and History

The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation has served as a beacon of hope to many for over 60 years.  We provide eyeglasses, exams, surgeries, and hearing aids that allow people to see and hear again.  Our partner medical providers greatly discount their services for the Lighthouse, at a combined value of $5 for every $1 we spend.  So for every dollar donated to the Lighthouse, a Georgian receives $5 in medical services.  In addition, the Lighthouse Foundation sends 100,000 pairs of recycled eyeglasses to developing countries each year.

Our Mission

The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation provides vision and hearing services through education, detection, prevention and treatment. Through collaborative partnerships we enable greater independence and increased quality of life for Georgians in financial need.

Our Vision

Building a better tomorrow by bringing individuals into a world of sight and sound.

History

The Lighthouse was the dream of a blind man, Atlanta Lion Tom Bingham. In 1949, Atlanta Lions, led by Bingham, along with Moultrie and Albany Lions, each contributed $1,000, and the Lighthouse was born. Now, more than 300 Lions Clubs provide financial and volunteer support for the Lighthouse.

  • March 1949: Georgia Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., was established, with Tom Bingham as the first Executive Director.
  • Oct. 11, 1950. The first Lighthouse patient to have surgery was Max Parker of Moultrie Georgia, in 1949. He was 4 yrs old. He still lives in Moultrie.
  • June 10, 1956: The name changed from “Georgia Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.” to the “Georgia Lions Lighthouse, Inc”.
  • July 25, 1961: The name changed once more to “Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, Inc,”.
  • 1963: The Lions of GA established an endowment with an initial bequest of $75,000.
  • 1968: Post-season NCAA football bowl games became very popular in the 1960's. Past International Director George Crumbley was among a large group involved in bringing a post season bowl game to Atlanta. The first Georgia Lions Peach Bowl was founded by the Lighthouse; it is now the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
  • 1977: The Lighthouse Board of Directors adds a second emphasis for the Lighthouse - Hearing Conservation. A Hearing Aid Bank was established.
  • 1980: The Lighthouse adopts White Cane month to increase awareness among the public about sight conservation and to raise funds for the sight services program.
  • 1980s: The Lighthouse provides funding for the first corneal transplant to be performed on an infant.
  • 1980: The Lighthouse begins a Recycled Eyeglass program, under leadership of then Lighthouse President Ken Massingale, PDG
  • 1987: Georgia Lions Hearing Research Laboratory at Emory was founded with $50,000 given by the Lighthouse.
  • 1995: Mobile Eye Clinic is purchased. Today the Mobile Eye Clinic is operated by the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Jasper, GA.
  • 1996: The Georgia Lions Children's Eye Care Center at Emory is founded.
  • 2005: The Lighthouse helps over 100 victims of Hurricane Katrina receive eye exams and glasses.
  • 2006: The Lighthouse has one mobile eye clinic, and we become the official charity of the Angels Over Atlanta Air Show.
  • 2007: A new hearing aid program begins, allowing the Lighthouse to distribute new digital hearing aids rather than refurbished analog aids. In two years, the number of hearing aids provided per year jumped from 730 to 1,624.
  • 2007: The Lighthouse grows from one eye clinic to seven.
  • 2008: Seven more eye clinics open, bringing the total to 14.
  • 2011: The Lighthouse moves into a new building, the result of a successful $2.75 million capital campaign.  The campaign funds allow the Lighthouse to open a new on-site clinic and optical lab, which enables the Lighthouse to produce their own glasses and lower costs.
  • 2012: The Lighthouse mobile vision clinic now partners with 23 free clinics throughout the state.
Gaye-Gerine, a bright and determined student kept disappointing herself and her parents with poor grades.  Believing that she wasn’t trying hard enough, her parents did everything they could to encourage their already motivated daughter.  Yet her grades remained mostly “C”s and “D”s.  Gaye-Gerine had the confidence and insight to know why she was performing below her ability.  She kept telling her parents that she couldn’t make good grades because she could not see.

Gaye-Gerine’s father is a hard-working small business owner who cannot afford health insurance for his family of six.  Although they are legal Georgia residents, this family of immigrants is precluded from health care programs for the uninsured, such as PeachCare. So when they learned that their daughter needed glasses they turned to the Lions Lighthouse for help.

In 2008, Gaye-Gerine received glasses from the Good Samaritan Clinic.  So far this year, she is earning the grades she has always deserved — straight A’s!

“Before I got glasses, everything was blurry, I didn’t understand anything written on the board,” said Gaye-Gerine.  “Thank you for helping me to get glasses.  I want to study hard and one day become a veterinarian.”

What is the value of an eye exam and new pair of glasses?  These have to be measured in what they mean to clients like Gaye-Gerine, who now has hope for a future that is well within her reach.






“Now with the skills of my surgeon and the gracious funding of the Lighthouse Foundation, I can see clearly in both eyes and have regained my driver’s license. Also I am working and studying to take the Georgia Pharmacy Board Exams this summer. I will live in gratitude to the Lighthouse for the rest of my life.”

~ Chris, Lighthouse surgery patient.  Chris passed his board exams and is now working as a pharmacist.