Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the Eye Institute


For millions of children and adults, the world can be blurry, distorted or hardly visible at all, and the suffering this causes can be immense.  The Eye Institute is working to alleviate some of this suffering and improve the outcomes for many whose diseases may at one time have been untreatable. Since we opened our doors more than 40 years ago, Eye Institute researchers have diligently worked to understand the causes of eye disease.  Discoveries in the lab, made possible in part through private funding of research endeavors, have produced new knowledge resulting in an improved understanding and more effective methods of treating such disorders as color blindness, macular degeneration, viral infections of the eye, retinal disorders and glaucoma. Thank you! Because of your support, we remain among the preeminent eye research centers in the country and continue to generate vital information in the world wide effort to cure blinding eye disease. Your eye sight is a precious and fragile gift and improving, restoring and preserving it is the driving force behind the Eye Institute's programs.

Ways to Give

Type of Gifts

Matching Gifts
Some employers offer a matching gift program to their employees. For every dollar you donate to the Eye Institute, your employer may match it. All you need is a Matching Gift Form from your employer’s Public Affairs Department. Complete the section designated for employees and mail the form to us. We will take care of all the other details and paperwork.

Gifts of Stocks and Bonds
Many donors to the Eye Institute make outright gifts and pledges in the form of appreciated securities rather than cash, in order to benefit from extra tax advantages. You may deduct the current fair-market value of the security as a charitable gift and you may avoid paying a tax on capital gains which you would owe if you sold the securities first and then made a gift to the Eye Institute. We advise you to consult with your tax advisor on all tax-related issues.

Planned Giving
The Eye Institute has been the recipient of bequests, both large and small, from many alumni, friends and grateful patients over the years. These donors felt they needed their capital during their lifetimes, but have found it possible to associate themselves forever with the Eye Institute.

These bequests have been welcome and are important to the Eye Institute. The value of a bequest to the Eye Institute is deductible for estate tax purposes. Please contact Gina Vrtochnick with questions about bequests or for assistance with appropriate wording.
Gina Vrtochnick
Office of Development
(414) 955-5906

You may wish to make a substantial gift to the Eye Institute but feel you cannot afford to give up the annual income produced by the asset. Call us to inquire about our life-income gift program, which offers several ways to help you make such a gift while retaining an income for your lifetime.

Email Gina Vrtochnick

Honor Gifts
You can pay tribute to your doctor by making a gift to the Eye Institute in their honor. You could also acknowledge a special occasion or honor a significant person in your life with a gift. All gifts made in honor of an individual will be listed in the Medical College of Wisconsin's annual report, and a letter informing the honoree will be sent.
Memorial Gifts
You may choose to honor a loved one’s passing by making a donation in his/her name or by directing memorial gifts to the Eye Institute. We hope that the knowledge that these gifts will be used to help our scientist find cures for blinding eye diseases will be of comfort to you and your family. You may even designate that gifts in your loved one's memory support research on a specific disease (i.e. macular degeneration, glaucoma, etc.).

When writing an obituary, you may include the phrase: "Memorial gifts to support the Eye Institute can be made to the Medical College of Wisconsin. Gifts may be sent to the Office of Development, Eye Institute, 8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226." Memorial gift envelopes are also available.

All donors are provided with a receipt for their generosity and extended a note of gratitude in compliance with IRS requirements. Please alert us to the name and address of the family of the deceased so we may provide them with the names and addresses of the donors who have chosen to make a gift.

Please call (414) 955-4700 in advance of the memorial service to help answer any questions you may have about donations to the Eye Institute.
Funding Opportunities

Philanthropy plays a powerful part of progress at the Eye Institute. The foresight of visionary patients, alumni and friends has helped us launch projects and programs that were once only dreams, make discoveries that previously seemed impossible and provided seed funds for projects that were leveraged into subsequent NIH funding. Many areas of the Eye Institute accept philanthropic funds. Below is a brief synopsis of how donated funds may be used by the Department of Ophthalmology.


Funds donated for educational use provide valuable resources for teaching and training future clinicians and scientists.

Residency education funds: may be used to purchase equipment to help residents safely and more efficiently develop their surgical proficiency or provide means for residents to travel to national meetings and present their research.

Graduate education funds: may be used to pay stipends of students training to obtain their masters or PhD under one of our vision scientists or provide means for them to travel nationally or abroad to present their research at a professional meeting.


The Eye Institute is currently conducting clinical, translational and basic science research within our patient care facility that can be supported in a variety of ways.

Support a Specific Research Program: There are many broad programs a given research project may fall under, thus a contribution to a program would provide support for all diseases being studied within a given field. Our programs include: Advanced Ocular Imaging Program (AOIP), Ocular Gene Therapy Laboratory, retinal research, and pediatric vision research.

Fund a Particular Researcher: This support may be used at the discretion of a given physician or scientist on one of their projects (i.e., Dr. Joseph Carroll, Dr. Judy KimDr. Daniel Lipinski, Dr. Ross ColleryDr. Shyam Chaurasia, or Dr. Joel Miesfeld).

Advance Research on a Specific Disease: Funds directed to a specific disease will be able to be used by faculty to make inroads in curtailing progression, understanding development, or improving treatment and prevention of a given disease. We currently have ongoing research projects on AMD, glaucoma, inherited retinal diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and retinopathy of prematurity, among others.

Donor Recognition Wall

With the recent renovation of our lobby, the Eye Institute has incorporated a beautiful donor recognition wall that reflects cumulative giving of funds to the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. We are delighted to honor those who have contributed significantly to making us one of the premier vision research and care facilities in the country.

*Donors to the Medical College of Wisconsin may be recognized in various ways depending on their gift, their preference for recognition and college policy.*

If you would like to be acknowledged on our wall at this time, or in the future, you may do so through an outright gift, a pledge payable over 5 years, or by designating the Eye Institute as a beneficiary in your will. To make a gift, or with questions about the threshold of acknowledgement, please contact Gina Vrtochnick.

Gina Vrtochnick
Office of Development
(414) 955-5906

Other Ways to Donate

  • Donate by Mail

    Make your check payable to the Medical College of Wisconsin. Download our giving form and mail to: Medical College of Wisconsin, Attn: Office of Institutional Advancement, P.O. Box 26509, Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509

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  • Questions?

    If you have any questions about making a gift, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (414) 955-4700 or donations@mcw.edu.

    Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us

Gina Vrtochnick

Director of Development

(414) 955-5906 

(414) 805-7790 (fax)

Email Gina Vrtochnick