UHCO ranks among one of the premiere optometric institutions in the world. To remain at the forefront, the College seeks investments in our future through contributions from our alumni and friends as well as corporations and foundations in support of our key priorities. These philanthropic investments are critical now more than ever as we continue to educate future optometrists, conduct leading research, and grow the foundation of knowledge.
Private support is important to all aspects of UHCO and gives you, the donor, an opportunity to play an integral role in the life of the College and the optometric profession. Your investment will help grow the College and the profession, paying dividends well into the future for the next generation of optometric leaders.
Melissa Mares - Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Executive Director of Optometry Relations, UHCO
4901 Calhoun Rd.
Houston , TX 77204-2020
Call 713.743.1284 to make a credit card gift by phone.
The University of Houston College of Optometry has numerous opportunities for alumni, friends, and donors to become more connected with the College. As UHCO continues to expand and evolve, so do our funding priorities. Below is a list of our most current needs and opportunities for you to connect in a more impactful way. We appreciate your interest and can help tailor your gift to a specific area or initiative.
With an eye on the future, UHCO has expanded to include the UH Health and Biomedical Sciences Building which houses the Molly and Doug Barnes Vision Institute. The Molly and Doug Barnes Vision Institute includes a state-of-the-art Ambulatory Surgery Center and Laser Procedure Center on the first floor and classrooms, student study rooms, faculty offices and labs located on the second floor. This new facility allows unprecedented post-graduate educational and training opportunities for optometrists, expands our patient services, provides essential eye and vision care for under-served populations, and supports clinically relevant research changing the way we diagnose, treat, and manage ocular disorders.
Enhancing scholarship support is critical if UHCO is to remain competitive in today’s educational environment. We remain dedicated to attracting the highest caliber individuals into optometry. Your gift ensures we have the resources, in the form of scholarships, needed to attract the most talented and promising young minds. The availability of scholarships plays an integral role in determining which optometric institution a student chooses to attend, and with the partnership of our donors, UHCO will be the unrivaled choice.
Advancing academic excellence is critical to UHCO’s efforts in developing the optimal curriculum. Contributions provide the resources necessary to recruit talented faculty who have the skills required to advance the profession. Faculty play an integral role in the lives of our students, as well as furthering research which advance the profession. Being able to retain and secure leading minds will sustain UHCO as a premier optometric institution and ensure our graduating students are prepared for the ever changing healthcare sector.
Contributions to the Excellence Fund position the College to stay proactive, rather than reactive, and ensure we are able to capitalize on critical current and future opportunities as they develop. The Excellence Fund also positions the College to be able to address specific needs as they arise. Having the flexibility to respond immediately is integral in today’s rapidly advancing and changing healthcare and educational environment, and helps to ensure UHCO remains on the cutting edge. Excellence funds make a positive impact in all areas of the College, including:
UHCO provides essential eye care at the University Eye Institute, as well as at our community-based facilities in Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth. Support of our outreach services assists patients in need of primary eye care, but with limited financial means to pay for materials, such as glasses. Gifts designated for this area also provide support for the UHCO’s Mobile Eye Institute, patient education programs and vision screenings.
Drive and desire to uncover optical and vision mysteries has always been evident in UHCO’s professors, researchers and students. Research changes the way we diagnose, manage and treat vision and its care. Additionally, it leads to new innovations in technology, pharmaceuticals and more. Research-designated gifts provide critical infrastructure ranging from laboratory equipment to stipends for research assistants.
Annually, more than 1,600 optometrists from Texas and around the nation obtain their continuing education (CE) from UHCO. Our mission is to optimize patient care by providing the most accurate and up-to-date information and strategies for optometrists. CE support and program sponsorship help to reduce participant registration fees by defraying travel expenses, honorariums for nationally recognized expert speakers, and costs associated with marketing and packet materials for participants.
Below are various giving opportunities. For more detailed information on planned giving, please visit the UH planned giving resource page. To learn more regarding College specific gifts, contact UHCO’s Melissa Mares at email@example.com or by phone at 713.743.1284.
Discretionary funds provide immediate support for current use and typically support the areas of greatest need. Gifts to the discretionary fund may support building capital, equipment, one-time scholarship awards, special events, student activities, and academic programs.
UHCO offers a range of named gift opportunities including classrooms, examination rooms, public spaces, laboratories, academic offices, scholarships, professorships, lectureships, department chairs, and programs. A named fund serves not only as a source of support for UHCO, but also as a continuing reminder of the values of the individual(s) or corporation it is named for. Gifts at the $25,000 level and above may be named by the donor for themselves or to honor the legacy of a mentor, friend, or family member. Named gifts are recognized in a variety of ways including, and as appropriate to the gift, plaques, listing on the Wall of Honor, signage and/or printed materials.
Smaller named gifts may be given in honor or memory of an individual or family and may be designated for the Book of Memory which provides support for areas of the college most in need.
An endowment is a fund that is maintained in perpetuity, and only a portion of the annual investment return is used for the purposes specified by the donor. The rest of the investment yield is returned to the principle. The remaining interest is added to the principal endowment so the fund can grow over time and gain protection from inflation. Once an endowment is fully funded, it will take approximately one year to earn the appropriate interest to provide student support. Such endowments, which typically bear the name of the donor(s), reflect your interests, and serve as tribute to your generosity.
There are many ways to support the UHCO. When you plan a gift to the college as part of your long-term estate and financial plans, you will support our students, faculty, and programs far into the future while still ensuring that your loved ones are taken care of. Several types of planned gifts include: bequests, charitable gift annuities, gift of retirement assets, and charitable remainder trust. Use the tools and resources page to find a plan that fits your goals. And whether you are selling your practice or property and would like to support the college while receiving a tax deduction, UHCO can guide you through the process on accomplishing both goals.
Private philanthropic gifts are made in myriad ways and are particular to each donor’s financial and tax requirements. Your financial advisor is often the best resource to help you determine the method that will provide the maximum benefit as it relates to your individual financial goals.
The simplest gift you can make is an outright gift of cash that can be put to use immediately, either by providing funding for current programs or creating a reliable source of future income through a permanent endowment. This tax-deductible donation may come in the form of cash, check or credit card charge.
Giving appreciated stocks and bonds are, next to cash, also a fairly simple and easy process. Working with a broker to transfer appreciated stock or other securities, donors receive the benefit of an income-tax deduction, avoid the capital gains tax, and possibly save on estate taxes.
Donors often find that by pledging their gift over a set period of time, they are able to make a more substantial contribution designated for their particular area of interest. Donors may tailor their pledge payments to adjust the timing and amount of each payment to achieve the most beneficial tax treatment.
Through gifts-in-kind, a donor can help UHCO strengthen its programs and improve its facilities so that we can continue to offer the best possible educational experience to our students. An in-kind contribution is a tangible item or product, which once donated, can be used by the College. Examples of in-kind gifts include new of gently used optometric equipment for examination rooms, office furniture, computers, low vision aides, lens blanks, frames and pharmaceutical items for patients.
A charitable bequest affords a way for an individual to express specific philanthropic wishes upon the donor’s death. Through a bequest, you can reduce federal estate taxes and applicable state inheritance taxes, while also leaving a lasting legacy to UHCO. Donors may choose to name UHCO as the beneficiary of their will or living trust. At the time of this designation, your financial advisor can prepare a letter stating your intent, which will then be sent to the College. Upon notification, the donor then becomes a member of prestigious In Tempore Society.
Retirement plans are often the largest asset in the portfolio of most families but when Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and other plans are left to heirs through an estate, they are subject to multiple layers of taxation which reduces the benefits to designated family members. This can be overcome by designating either a portion of, or all of, the funds in a qualified plan as the estate assets to use for a charitable bequest.
One of the most tax-advantaged gifts is the Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT). When an appreciated asset is transferred into a CRT, the donor receive an immediate income tax deduction, is able to bypass potential capital gains tax as well avoid the donation being subject to gift or estate taxes in the future. In return, the College agrees to pay the donor an income for life, often amounting to more than the value of the original donation. The CRT can save current and future tax dollars, generate an increase in current income, and result in a substantial gift to UHCO.
The Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) enables donors to be philanthropic while also securing an income. Like a charitable trust (CRT), the gift annuity contract transfers an asset to UHCO, and in return, donors receive payments every year for the duration of the contract.
Corporate matching gifts provide a unique way to increase a donor’s gift, sometimes doubling or even tripling the original contribution. As a benefit to its employees, some companies “match” charitable donations to certain types of organizations, such as higher education. To determine if you or your spouse works for a company that provides matching gifts, check with your human resources department.
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs,
Executive Director of Optometry Relations
University of Houston College of Optometry
4901 Calhoun Rd.,
Houston, TX 77204-2020