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From Start Up to Success: Supporting Eye Health and Vision Care Programs at Health Centers

The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) with the support of the Centene Foundation for Quality Health Care is now accepting applications from federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and federally qualified health centers look-alikes (FQHC-LAs) to receive $25,000 to assist with start-up costs and expansion of permanent and comprehensive eye health and vision care programs.

  • Permanent programs are defined as programs that are located at the health center site and operate year-round on a regular schedule. Some health centers, particularly those in rural areas, may apply for portable equipment to operate a flexible clinical model where services are made available at more than one site on a regular schedule.
  • FQHCs and FQHC-LAs must plan on providing comprehensive eye exams as defined by the American Optometric Association. Grants will not be made available for programs that are limited to vision screenings and referrals.
Grantees Receive

  • $25,000 for the start-up or expansion of services of permanent and comprehensive eye health and vision care programs.
  • Direct training and technical assistance from members of ACU’s Vision Services Committee and other subject matter experts who will be able to provide guidance and troubleshoot any start up or expansion issues.
  • Flyers to promote a patient-story program.  Each participating patient will receive a $100 gift card.
  • Press release templates to promote new or expanded services within your community.

For more information, please download the flyer.

We also encourage you to download a copy of all the application questions where you can draft and save all your responses prior to submitting them online.  

Grant Timeline
Applications accepted: October - December 31, 2022
Application review: January 2023
Notification of awards: No later than February 15, 2023
Funds disbursed: No later than March 31, 2023
Deadline for program start up: September 30, 2023

For questions, please contact Luke Ertle, ACU’s Program Director, at

Question Title

* 1. Eligibility:

To get started, please confirm that your organization is eligible to receive this grant. If you are unsure if your organization is an FQHC or an FQHC-LA, you can search the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) website to confirm your organization's eligibility. 

Question Title

* 2. Eligibility:

Please see the eligible uses of funds below and indicate which scenario best fits your organization's planned use of funding.

Question Title

* 3. Grant Requirements

Please indicate that you understand the requirements of the grant and agree to the following:
  • Must use funds to support the cost of new equipment and services necessary to establish or expand vision care programs. Funds may not be used to support salaries, contracted optometry or ophthalmology services, replacement equipment, or construction costs.
  • Must be willing to provide direct vision services including vision exams and prescription glasses (not a referral program)
  • Must have your vision care program operating and accepting patients within 6-months of receiving the grant -- September 30, 2023. 
  • Must agree to share aggregated vision service data which includes number of patients seen and patient demographics (race and ethnicity, age, and specific populations) after 6- and 12- months of providing vision services.  Please review the reporting template to ensure that your organization is already collecting and tracking all data points or is able to begin collecting these data points for project reporting.   Approximate reporting timelines would be:
    • October 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024:  Data will be submitted to ACU by May 31, 2024.
    • May 1, 2024 to October 31, 2024: Data will be submitted to ACU by November 30, 2024. 
  • Must share an informational flyer with vision care patients to assist ACU in collecting success stories and recruit two (2) patients by October 31, 2023. Patients who volunteer to be interviewed by ACU will receive a $100 gift card. Patient names will not be included in success stories.
  • Must have one (1) representative from the organization attend a total of three project calls. These calls will scheduled during the following timeframes:
    • April/May 2023
    • October/November 2023
    • March/April 2024

Continue to the next page to begin the application. 
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