Twelve-year-old Jonathan Jones is extremely color blind. During Mrs. Joan Foley’s science class at Lakeview Schools (Cottonwood and Wood Lake), principal Scott Hanson, who is also color blind, brought a pair of color correcting glasses for Jonathan to try on. Family members and classmates watched as Jonathan’s world instantly changed. It was an overwhelming and beautiful moment to see Jonathan experience things around him in a whole new way.
This incredible moment was captured on video and touched thousands of people across the world, too. It went viral, and it captured the attention of national media like ABC, CBS, The Washington Post, USA Today and more. It inspired generosity, too.
People kept asking how they could help. So, parents Carole and Don Jones created a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $350 to purchase a pair of color correcting glasses. The response was unbelievable: Over $32,000 was raised! Even better, a company that makes color correcting glasses, EnChroma, committed to match every pair purchased with a free pair. An incredible moment for Jonathan is now creating incredible opportunities for kids across southwest Minnesota!
A Visionary Partnership
With donations growing, Carole and Don Jones contacted Southwest Initiative Foundation to see how we could help. As a regional community foundation, we were able to create a solution that transforms the generous donations into color correcting glasses for kids in our southwest Minnesota region. Working with the Jones Family, EnChroma company and southwest Minnesota schools, we have a process for families to screen their child’s vision and apply for a pair of color correcting glasses. There is no cost to families, ensuring that all kids with color blindness have an opportunity to see a whole new world!
Contact us with questions
Laura Curtiss, Grants Administrative Assistant
Regarding making a special gift:
Liz Cheney, CFRE, Vice President of Philanthropy
Or call us at 800-594-9480.
How do I know if my child is color blind?
Children are typically screened for color blindness during school readiness or well-child doctor visits. Families can consult their school nurse or primary care provider for guidance. Informal tests are available online, including through our project partner EnChroma (enchroma.com/technology). Color blindness is complex and impacts people differently. It affects approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women.
How can my child get free glasses?
Southwest Initiative Foundation is working with southwest Minnesota school districts to identify students who are color blind. Contact your school nurse or Southwest Initiative Foundation to find out if your school is currently eligible. Distribution of the free color correcting glasses will continue until the dollars run out. Regular and prescription lens options are offered based on the child’s specific needs. There is no cost to families for either option. It’s important to us that all kids who are color blind, regardless of their family’s financial situation, are included in this opportunity.
Can I still make a donation?
Yes, you can make a donation directly to the fund. Checks can be made to Southwest Initiative Foundation with a designation for Jones Family Redirecting the Light Fund. Donations to Southwest Initiative Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. We can also accept gifts of other assets, such as credit card, appreciated stock and more. Contact us for more details on these options.
Can Southwest Initiative Foundation help me with a GoFundMe project?
Maybe. Southwest Initiative Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity in the tax code, so the IRS has rules for what we can and can’t do. We were able to partner with the Jones Family because they are directing GoFundMe donations for the benefit of a charitable class: Kids with color blindness. Because the donations are not specific to one or more named individuals, this allows us to make grants for and distribute the glasses. Crowdfunding tools like GoFundMe do not have the same rules, which allows people to raise money for named individuals. In those cases, donations through GoFundMe are not tax deductible. In addition, recipients of a GoFundMe campaign may have tax considerations. Simply put, because of the charitable tax deduction Southwest Initiative Foundation offers, our rules are different.
This information is educational in nature. Southwest Initiative Foundation is not endorsing any product or company. Southwest Initiative Foundation is not offering professional tax, legal, accounting or medical advice.