Headshot Photo of Lillian Pravda
2014 Award Recipient


Project Vision For and From Children

Location New York, NY

Issue Area Health

Born with a cataract, Lillian underwent two eye surgeries before she was five years old. She vividly recalls how nervous she was waiting in the hospital before surgery. Wanting to help future patients, Lillian began volunteering in a pediatric surgical unit and learned that 19 million children worldwide are visually impaired, many of them unable to access the care they need. Lillian, then just eight years old, decided to take action and created Vision for and from Children (VFAFC), a U.S.-based global philanthropic foundation dedicated to providing eye surgeries and vision-related services for children in need across the globe.

By organizing in-kind donations from world-renowned physicians and recruiting teen “Diplomats” throughout North America to raise funds, VFAFC sponsors teams of ophthalmologists to deliver ocular care in the developing world, as well brings children to the United States for sight-saving and sight-restorative surgeries. VFAFC has partnered with individuals; Fortune 500 corporations; and local, national, and international businesses to fulfill its mission in the United States and abroad. Through Lillian’s leadership as CEO, “Chief Eyesight Optimist,” VFAFC has helped 24,210 children receive the gift of sight.

What began as an idea to comfort local children in a pediatric surgical unit has grown into a global support for children with vision issues. It shows how one idea/action can spark a chain of positive events.

Lillian Pravda
“It is never too late, too early, or too often TO GIVE BACK AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”
Helen Diller