It isn’t every day that your optometrist becomes one of your organization’s most dynamic corporate partners, but that is exactly what Dr. Summy To and John Schreiber at Myoptic Optometry + Eyewear have become to Pride Foundation.
Like many Portlanders, I became a patient at Myoptic because I appreciated their commitment to giving back to their community. At each visit, I have a choose-your-own-adventure style opportunity to do some good in the world; all patients get to select a charity that Myoptic will share their profits with, like Mercy Corps, OPB, or Oregon Food Bank.
Years after my first visit, during my annual eye exam, I found myself overly caffeinated and excitedly sharing some of the work of Pride Foundation with my doctor. He thought Myoptic would be interested in getting more involved, and set up a meeting for me with Myoptic’s founders.
Summy and John opened Myoptic in 2010 with two guiding principles: generosity and community. Myoptic is unique because partnering with local charities was built into the very foundation of their business model. It is critical to their philosophy and to their values: “We both feel that helping others and investing in the communities we serve is not just some privilege, but the duty of any responsible business.”
From day one, they’ve given a portion of their profits to nonprofit organizations that their patients and customers help choose. They select organizations whose work is in line with their values and who are working across different issues from fighting hunger to social justice, making sure they’re investing in a variety of opportunities to make the world better.
After sponsoring and then attending Pride Foundation’s scholarship celebration in 2015, Summy and John were moved by the inspirational stories of the recipients and the often heartbreaking challenges they have overcome. They were thrilled at the opportunities Pride Foundation’s scholarships offer to students, particularly for those who are planning to lead lives focused on service.
As they explain, “We chose to work with Pride Foundation because, while there are many groups devoted to equality, most are concentrated in major cities. And we really love that Pride Foundation is reaching out to youth in more rural areas where the LGBTQ community gets far less support and might face greater challenges of acceptance compared to more dense and progressive urban centers.”
In 2016, Myoptic invited Pride Foundation to become a partner organization, donating a portion of their proceeds to our work. Since then, they have given more than $2,500 to help support LGBTQ communities across the Northwest. After the election last November and the resounding impact they knew it would have on all of our communities, they committed to tripling their donations to the organizations with which they share their profits.
Since then, our partnership with Myoptic has only deepened. Last year, they were Pride Foundation’s official corporate partner for the Willamette Week Give!Guide, a local campaign to help increase charitable giving in the Portland metro area.
This year, they took their partnership a step further and established a scholarship fund at Pride Foundation. Myoptic sees their scholarship as an extension of their vision for contribution and community, and as an opportunity to help young people who share their passion for service, equality, and justice.
We are thrilled to administer the first See the World Better Scholarship this year to a student who is actively engaged in their community, prioritizes volunteerism, and is going into work related to social justice.
Partnerships like the one we are so lucky to have with Myoptic are exactly the kind of relationships we want to continue to build within our communities. The generosity and responsiveness they have shown is profound, and we are so grateful to be able to partner with companies that support our communities in such thoughtful and consistent ways.
Katie Carter is Pride Foundation’s Director of Strategic Partnerships. Email Katie.