Eye Thrive

Improving futures through sight.

Saint Louis, MO   |

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GuideStar Charity Check

Eye Thrive

EIN: 20-0265693


Eye Thrive's mission is to give children the ability to thrive through access to essential vision services. Our organization prioritizes reaching populations in need, delivering the highest quality of care, and making long-term impact through our services. We know first-hand the transformative power a pair of glasses can have on a child, in school and throughout their lives.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Kate McKearn

Main address

5501 Delmar Boulevard Suite B580

Saint Louis, MO 63112 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Vision care

Youth services

Population served info

Children and youth

Economically disadvantaged people

NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Since our founding in 2004, Eye Thrive has grown to become the leading provider of high-quality vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams and prescription glasses for low-income children in the St. Louis region through a community-based mobile healthcare model. We prioritize reaching populations in need, delivering the highest quality of care, and making long-term impact through our services.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mobile Vision Clinic

Our Mobile Vision Clinic (MVC) and full wraparound services remove the barriers of time, transportation, expense, system complexity and mistrust that prevent low-income children from receiving vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams and glasses. The MVC is a fully equipped, state-of-the-art optometry center on wheels that visits schools and child-centered organizations at no cost. Eye Thrive's signature Mobile Vision Clinic visits over 150 schools, community centers, libraries and other public events each year to provide over 5,000 comprehensive eye exams.

Population(s) Served

In the state of Missouri school vision screenings are no longer required, leaving thousands of kids with uncaught vision issues. In 2019, we launched the Vision Screening program to ensure more accurate screening of our kids and early detection of vision impairments. This takes the burden off overwhelmed school nurses and ensures accurate screenings for both near and far distances by nationally certified vision screeners. Annually Eye Thrive screens over 15,000 students and has a fail rate of approximately 38%, indicating a high number of students in need of follow-up comprehensive eye exams.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

In order to ensure a child seen by Eye Thrive is never without the glasses that they need, and because we know that accidents happen, Eye Thrive created the no-questions-asked, free replacement program in April 2020. Any child with a current Eye Thrive prescription can simply have a trusted adult go online and fill out a simple form. Replacement glasses will be made in our warehouse facility and shipped directly to the child at their home or school. The replacement program continues to grow annually, proving that this is a valuable component of our programming and a needed service for the children we serve.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

When staff optometrists recognize a health concern they cannot address in a child on board the Mobile Vision Clinic, Eye Thrives refers patients to a network of Medicaid-accepting partners including UMSL University Eye Care Center and WashU Eye Clinic. In addition, when a childs medical history indicates diabetes, staff optometrists administer dilation drops for an enlarged view of the retina and submit a separate referral to be shared with the childs primary care physician and/or specialist(s). Eye thrive staff complete follow-ups with parents and providers to ensure important specialty care is received.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clinic sites

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, People with vision impairments, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Mobile Vision Clinic

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

*Due to the COVID-19 spread and shut downs across the St. Louis region in 2020 - we were not able to conduct any visits March - June of 2020.

Number of children who receive comprehensive eye exams.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Mobile Vision Clinic

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We know first-hand the transformative power a pair of glasses can have on a child, in school and throughout their lives. Eye Thrive's full wraparound services are intended to provide complete, comprehensive vision care for children in underserved communities in the St. Louis region. The program is designed intentionally to create an "eye-health home" for each child. And with medical referrals, a free replacement program and the fully implemented Electronic Medical Records system, our kids are never left with out the glasses they need and the highest quality of care.
At a visit in late 2020, six year old Brooklyn put on her glasses and couldn't stop dancing in her chair and before leaving, she insisted on air-hugging every staff member because she was excited she could finally see clearly. When asked how Eye Thrive's program is helpful to their family, one parent said "because the glasses are free and we need them."

Eye Thrive makes an immediate, measurable impact for St. Louis children by providing the following wraparound vision services:
A school-based vision screening program that provides on-site initial vision screenings for children to identify possible vision impairment. Eye Thrive staff, certified as Vision Screeners by the National Center for Childrens Vision and Eye Health, provide minimally disruptive screenings at schools that take about three minutes per child. Our staff utilizes letter and/or symbol charts to screen both near and far distance, exceeding current state recommendations in Missouri and Illinois.
A Mobile Vision Clinic that is a fully equipped optometry center providing comprehensive eye exams and prescription glasses made on site and distributed the same day to children. Comprehensive eye exams evaluate the whole health of the eye, identifying each childs specific prescription need, while detecting other potential diseases. Our kids that require prescription glasses pick out their own new, high quality frames. Duplicate pairs are provided to children with an IEP plan and/or a high prescription so that children are never without the glasses they need in the classroom or at home.
A medical referral program to provide referrals to quality Medicaid-qualified for children in need of additional specialized care. Eye Thrive staff follows up with the parent to offer reminders, scheduling assistance, and support completing Medicaid requirements to ensure each child gets the needed care.
A replacement program that provides free, no-questions-asked replacement glasses delivered to the childs home or school.
An Electronic Medical Records system to track patient care and medical information from year-to-year, allowing for continuity of care.

Eye Thrive is deeply committed to our mission of ensuring no child in our community fails to thrive due to a lack of access to essential vision services. The capacity of our dedicated staff, relationships with schools, other community partners and a strong internal dialogue around strategic planning allow us to continue pursuing our mission year after year. Eye Thrive is a female-led organization with a racially, ethnically and gender-diverse Board of Directors. With extensive experience among staff in teaching, non-profit work, and serving populations in need, our staff knows that low-income children often get used books, secondhand clothes and other less-than-best items. We will always go the extra mile to ensure that every child who boards our MVC feels comfortable and special. We have built several long-lasting relationships with school districts, library branches and community centers. These relationships have been instrumental in delivering our services over a vast region.

During the 2022-2023 school year, Eye Thrive provided 14,352 vision screenings, 156 Mobile Vision Clinic Visits, 4,758 comprehensive eye exams, 5,400 prescription glasses, 114 medical referrals, and 2012 replacement glasses.

Eye Thrive is anticipating the launch of a capital campaign in 2024, coinciding with the 20th anniversary, to raise the necessary funds for the purchase, custom build out and implementation of a second Mobile Vision Clinic. This will enable Eye Thrive to double our programmatic capacity, serving over 10,000 students each year with comprehensive eye exams.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals, To track the impact of services on patients

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


Eye Thrive
Fiscal year: Jun 01 - May 31
Financial documents
2023 05-31-23_EyeThrivePublic990 2022 Eye Thrive 2020 2020 Financial Statement
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 3.33 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 6.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 8% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Eye Thrive

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jun 01 - May 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Eye Thrive

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jun 01 - May 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Eye Thrive

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jun 01 - May 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Eye Thrive’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2020 2021 2022 2023
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $254,118 $320,246 $128,128 $212,813 $435,811
As % of expenses 43.1% 43.6% 19.7% 20.9% 34.5%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $203,602 $264,329 $76,657 $161,463 $371,613
As % of expenses 31.8% 33.4% 10.9% 15.1% 28.0%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $759,482 $1,069,797 $832,917 $1,178,824 $1,798,929
Total revenue, % change over prior year -2.8% 0.0% -22.1% 41.5% 52.6%
Program services revenue 4.3% 2.2% 1.5% 1.5% 5.8%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 8.7% 6.3% 3.7%
All other grants and contributions 95.4% 96.7% 89.8% 92.3% 90.9%
Other revenue 0.3% 1.0% 0.0% 0.0% -0.4%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $589,138 $734,551 $650,539 $1,018,161 $1,264,625
Total expenses, % change over prior year 23.9% 0.0% -11.4% 56.5% 24.2%
Personnel 51.6% 51.9% 64.1% 52.2% 60.2%
Professional fees 3.8% 3.1% 6.3% 6.2% 3.3%
Occupancy 6.5% 5.1% 5.6% 3.7% 4.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 38.0% 39.9% 24.0% 37.7% 32.5%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $639,654 $790,468 $702,010 $1,069,511 $1,328,823
One month of savings $49,095 $61,213 $54,212 $84,847 $105,385
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $73,519 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $128,266
Total full costs (estimated) $688,749 $851,681 $756,222 $1,227,877 $1,562,474

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 8.5 6.3 5.3 5.6 3.4
Months of cash and investments 8.5 6.3 5.3 5.6 3.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 11.2 13.2 16.9 11.9 12.5
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $415,988 $388,687 $288,327 $475,411 $354,902
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $31,344 $0 $56,736 $114,500 $272,986
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $393,104 $371,167 $390,229 $435,601 $510,392
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 21.9% 36.2% 47.6% 54.4% 48.6%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 3.4% 8.8% 8.5% 4.2% 11.3%
Unrestricted net assets $858,297 $969,840 $1,046,497 $1,207,960 $1,579,573
Temporarily restricted net assets $124,300 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $124,300 $15,000 $69,250 $108,500 $210,000
Total net assets $982,597 $984,840 $1,115,747 $1,316,460 $1,789,573

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2020 2021 2022 2023
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Kate McKearn

Kate McKearn holds a Master’s Degree in Education and joined Eye Thrive in 2016. Kate has ten years of experience teaching in inner-city and low-income schools, including two years with Teach for America, which gives her an insider’s understanding of the needs of our students. Her leadership has led to better relationships with our partner schools, kid-friendly policies, and honing of our program strategy for maximum impact, particularly in removing unnecessary barriers for children to receive the care they need. Kate instills an organizational culture of meeting our children where they are, understanding that the life of an underprivileged child often includes stressors that come to school with them.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Eye Thrive

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Eye Thrive

Board of directors
as of 01/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Patty Jehling

Silgan Plastics

Matt Steffens

Lafayette High School

Erica Hinterser

Mid-America Transplant

Sarah Koopman


Sandra Anderson

St. Louis Arc

Kris Caldwell

Amcon Labs

Dr. Carrie Hruza

Envision Optical

Keshia Hair

Delmar DivINe

Zasmine Johnson

Girls Inc.

Lauren Harris

Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/13/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/15/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.