Proposal 12: Perpetual Glasses for Kids in Need

Proposal 6: Perpetual Glasses for Kids in Need
By Joshua Fisher & Fitz Frames

Summary
In celebration of the fact that every Noun is a glasses wearer, Fitz Frames would like to propose a perpetual funding allocation to deliver prescription eyeglasses to children in need.

Fitz Frames in partnership with Vision to Learn (as well as additional outreach partners) can deliver a no-cost eye exam plus an annual membership to Fitz Frames for children in need. A Fitz Frames membership includes two complete pairs of prescription eyeglasses with unlimited replacement frames should they lose, break, grow out of the glasses, or their prescription changes.

In addition to their Fitz Frames Membership each child will receive an additional free pair of Noun Frames, glasses that mimic the pair worn by their favorite Noun.

We seek for NounsDAO to allocate 1% of the treasury on an annual basis, distributed quarterly, to fund this project. The current treasury of 6,676 ETH could support >2.1K children right now for the cost of .031 ETH ($100) per child. We want to impact >10K children through this campaign and the reach of the program will grow as the treasury grows. We ask that you commit to a 1 year agreement with automatic perpetual renewal unless voted down.

Overview
The Challenge: Vision impairment is a growing crisis in the US and globally. In the US alone, it is estimated that nearly 10% of kids under 18 have an undiagnosed or untreated vision impairment. This is the single largest factor correlated with negative outcomes including dropout rates, teen pregnancy, and juvenile incarceration.

It’s understandable, given that even a modest untreated visual impairment can be misdiagnosed as ADHD, learning disability, or just a slow learner. This is particularly acute in minority communities and economically disadvantaged areas. Over the past ten years, the number of children diagnosed with vision impairment has gone from 24% to 31%. This is only being exacerbated by increased screen time at ever younger ages.

Thankfully, this is an easily solvable problem; early intervention with eye exams and glasses arrests decline in eyesight and the associated social problems. In fact, a recently published study by Johns Hopkins indicated that getting kids the glasses they needed led to dramatic gains in learning, the equivalent to nearly half a year of instruction. However, eye exams are only half of the problem, and keeping kids in well-fitting reasonably priced glasses as they grow is an intractable problem.

Fitz Frames has been addressing this problem for the past two years by offering reasonably priced, custom-fitted eyewear delivered directly to kids (and their families). With both a single purchase option and annual membership, Fitz solves this pain point for kids by providing (and keeping) great glasses on their face. Like Nouns, FItz is a digital product, using their iOS app they provide a virtual try-on, and scan the user’s face (taking over 40,000 measurements) and then 3D print made-to-measure glasses at their manufacturing facility in Youngstown, Ohio. Each pair is fitted with prescription lenses and shipped directly to the customer, with no need for a family member to take time off work to go back to the store to be fitted.

Proposal
Fitz would like to propose a perpetual funding mechanism in order to expand our existing social good efforts and deliver eyewear on an ongoing basis to kids in need:

  • 1% allocation of the Nouns treasury dedicated on a recurring annual basis, distributed quarterly, to providing no-cost vision tests plus Fitz Frames memberships to kids in need (allocation can be increased by vote of Nouns
  • Fitz will provide annual memberships at cost of .031 ETH ($100)/kid/year discounted from .058 ($185)
  • Fitz will provide an additional free pair of Noun Frames, mimicking their favorite Nouns
  • Outreach partners will identify recipients and provide no-cost eye exams
  • Fitz will provide a twice-annual report of progress to the Nouns Collective membership
  • Program will be perpetually renewed on an annual basis unless voted down

Like Nouns, Fitz is using the power of technology to change the world. We think this is a natural partnership that would not only do a tremendous amount of good, but also help to get the word out about Nouns in the press. Fitz has had a lot of success telling our story in the press, and we think that this novel tangible application of blockchain governance doing tangible good would be very interesting to several media outlets. At Fitz we believe that those who can see the world are the ones who can change the world. NounsDAO embodies this ethos completely, and we couldn’t imagine a better partner.

Noun Frames
Fitz will integrate Nouns Frames into their application so that users can pick their favorite Noun and receive glasses that mimic those frames as well as have the Noun itself printed on the side of the frames as well as the Noun number printed on the inside.

About Fitz:
Fitz Frames: https://www.fitzframes.com/

Fitz for Good - how Fitz has worked with VTL to provide glasses for kids in the past:

How Fitz has worked with Healthcare community to provide protective prescription eyewear to drs and nurses across the country - Local Hero NYC Glasses Maker Provides PPE For Frontline Doctors

Fitz in the Press - How we came to be and why we matter to kids - Startup offers affordable eyeglasses for kids that 'flatter little faces' - ABC News

About Vision 2 Learn:

10 Likes

Really like this idea; not aware of a cause more suitable to nouns. I’m new here, so these questions may already be answered, but I do think it brings up a few things for the DAO to consider:

  1. How much of the treasury will be allocated to charitable causes? Does this 1% of the treasury fill the annual quota? Will 5% be the quota? I think this will help us determine how reasonable the gift size is.

  2. Fixed amount vs Percentage portion: which is better for this case? is there a reason percentage portion was chosen over fixed amount?

  3. Will noun frames be available for purchase outside of the giving program? I believe the noun aesthetic to be particularly appealing for children as much as adults. There might be an opportunity for partnership between Fitz/NounsDAO to create a line of nouns-themed glasses. Normal frames of their choice with their favorite noun on the side using the noun color palette. Now, this could be a terrible idea, but I figured it was worth mentioning with the intent of increasing the reach of the nouns brand. One of the cons I anticipate is that it could be a direction that we do not want to take the brand.

I only bring up these questions to further discussion, not because I disagree with aspects of your proposal. Thanks, Joshua, for drafting this!

1 Like

I really love this idea from a high level!

I have a question about the the manufacturer. From one of the articles:

The time between placing an order and having the new glasses in hand is expected to take a week. Currently it is taking two, because of a longer-than-expected pre-launch wait list of over 5,000 orders.

As this was from Q3 2019, can you share any updated info in terms of how the company is doing currently? (maybe sales figures, growth, current manuf. lead times, etc.)

Also, are the Nouns glasses meant to be more of a toy, or are they designed to be an actual full-time frame option? I ask because if they’re just meant to be something fun, I think it’d be cool if they were direct representations of the Noun glasses (aka totally square).

4 Likes

Thanks!

  1. Interested in this as well. Would love to allocate as much as possible to this cause and others.
  2. I think so. This is a great idea and something we’ve discussed for the future and would love to explore more. This would be simple to implement as we will be building this feature into this program.

Thanks!

Working on getting more info. Fitz team should be joining the convo shortly.

Thank you for mentioning this. Agreed. These were a quick mock up but I expect the final to be shape and color accurate.

1 Like

perpetual funding allocation to deliver prescription eyeglasses to children in need

We seek for NounsDAO to allocate 1% of the treasury on an annual basis

We ask that you commit to a 1 year agreement with automatic perpetual renewal unless voted down

Sounds like a great initiative and use-case for the treasury. This reminds me of the NOIR proposal in the sense that it’s proposing a relatively large and complex project while providing very few details about execution.

I would personally be more likely to vote in favor of a large and longer-term proposal if the concept was proven successful in a pilot program first: 5 ETH for 50 pairs of glasses etc. The cost per unit would be higher, but it seems imprudent to provide capital at-scale without learning how the team can execute.

I also question the need for perpetual funding and funding as a % of the treasury. There is no practical way to fund perpetually, and due to the volatility of ETH and Noun prices, we don’t know what 1% of the treasury will be in terms of real-world purchasing power. The proposal workflow is being refined and should be low-friction enough that funding can be requested and renewed quarterly, semi-annually etc.

Look forward to seeing more!

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Thanks for the feedback. Based on this enthusiasm I would expect the Fitz team to be able to provide more insight and specifics on the execution.

Fair. I developed this idea while thinking of ways to expose Nouns. I came up with the number trying to ensure that the program would impact a meaningful amount of kids and provide an opportunity for press and social content. There’s a beautiful story here. Every one of these kids will get exposure to the brand in a real and meaningful way. Imagine being the first class of Little Nounders. Maybe the frame comes with an NFT? So many possibilities.

Sounds great, I’m sure wherever this lands will work for this and other projects well.

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Love this, @joshuafisher. I think @4156’s proposal of a preliminary pilot program makes sense. And perhaps, if it were to become a recurring/always on program, something expressed in % of treasury or xxx eth, whichever is less, would be the way to go.

Small point, but I would think those annual membership costs cited in the proposal would be best denominated in USD since eth may vary wildly year to year.

Finally, an aesthetic question – I would love a super-stylized, very square (possibly red?) glasses frame that mirrors the nouns look. But does that stylized nouns aesthetic clash somewhat with the charitable impulse at the heart of this? I could see kids feeling awkward and uncomfortable being made to wear glasses like this. I wonder if instead there are potential two parallel aspects to this – one a program that creates a line of noun-inspired glasses for retail (as sweat asked about in their point #3), and the other a charitable program that funds glasses for kids who need them, but is style-agnostic. (Re-reading your proposal, I think the nouns look would just be an option of many, so maybe it’s not an issue at all. But I would love the opportunity to buy a pair for myself!)

Such a great initiative though, thanks again Josh!

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Thanks Tony!

My understanding is that each subscription membership comes with 2 pairs of custom fit glasses and unlimited replacements for 1 year. In addition to those pairs each child selected would receive a custom pair of Noun Frames (I made this name up, happy to brainstorm) that would be based on their favorite Noun, so the colors would match and the Noun would be printed on the side and the Noun # would be printed on the inside. I would think of these more as a collectors item or dress up pair.

Hi - I’m Gabriel, the CEO of Fitz Frames. @joshuafisher invited me to join. I’m playing a bit of catch-up ball but I’ll try to answer questions inline. We’re really excited at the prospect of working together. Nouns embodies everything we love about technology and community.

The article you mentioned was from quite a while ago; we’ve caught up and we endeavor to get every order out the door in about a week. Each frame is custom-made to the kid’s face (and personalized on the inside with their name (or phone number, or favorite animal, or potentially their favorite Noun.) Some complicated prescriptions take a bit longer to fulfill, but we’re averaging just over a week from order to ship currently. We ship 2nd day FedEx from our factory in Youngstown, OH, so you can generally expect to have glasses in your hands in 8-9 days. We’re endeavoring to bring that down under 7 days from order to shipment.

When we’ve partnered with outreach groups like Vision to Learn in the past, we’ve actually done onsite measurement when the kids were getting their eye exam and we can run larger batches so I’d anticipate that we can get the kids their first pair of glasses rather quickly. In a lot of cases, these kids have been without a pair (or an updated prescription) for some time, so we try to turn them around ASAP.

Because each pair is made-to-measure and starts as a digital file, our system allows to introduce a new design incredibly quickly. The Noun-inspired glasses in the proposal is something we whipped up in a couple of hours. We expected to refine the design working with the Noun community; we’re happy to incorporate feedback. We’d love for them to be both fun and functional.

We’re certainly open to doing a pilot program first (and were planning on a slow ramp up to refine the process.) We’ve partnered with Vision to Learn in the past and have a model for what works in terms of outreach and kid/parent experience. There are new elements here (namely the Noun glasses) and we’d expect to work alongside the community to create the best kid experience and the best representation of Nouns at large.

Agreed that the volatility of eth can be a little complex. Basically, $100/year keeps a kid in glasses for the year. The would get two complete pairs of glasses and then replacements as needed throughout the year. (this compares to the $185 we normally charge for a similar membership) We want to offer the Nouns glasses as a fun exclusive option; fully functional, but not something they’re obliged to wear every day.

Overall, the goal is to solve glasses for kids (and families) in need. One thing that we’ve heard multiple times is that even if kids get free glasses, they rarely last the entire year. Kids grow, lose or break their glasses, or their prescription can change. Our goal is to remove that worry and make a replacement pair a few clicks or a phone call away.

By having a set allocation per year (or per quarter) we’re able to direct our charitable efforts more effectively. It allows us to scale up the programs we’ve already put in place and plan for the future (and hit a lower price point so we can help more kids).

If you’d like more info about how things work, you can download the Fitz app and try it out for yourself. We’re happy to provide a discount code if you’d like to try out the glasses yourself.

Lovely that Nouns iconic glasses will get greater reach.

I agree with @4156 on starting small. I do think that 1% perpetuity in a single cause is a bit much. Especially when we’re this early and there’s potentially other significant causes where our funds can be channeled into

I Totally agree with 4156 points

Absolutely love the idea and the initiative, I would also say starting small would make a lot of sense, but I easily see this thing take off and make great sense for what Nouns are trying to build. If it goes well, more funds should be allocated to this project.

Yes! I can’t wait for pics to start flowing in of kids wearing these :slight_smile:

I agree a pilot program makes a lot of sense.

I’m curious to see where the NounsDAO lands on charitable donations. The top US companies tap out at about 2.5%. Do you stop there? Go higher? Go lower?

I also think this is a particularly unique case where the donation is also a direct marketing and PR play for Nouns themselves. 10K kids in frames is great but imagine 1M lives impacted, at the current rate 1M could be achieved in year 1 w/ ~15% of the treasury (making all sorts of assumptions here about price consistency, etc but just thinking out loud).

I’m really enjoying these conversations around these larger topics and hope this facilitates these efforts for the future. The overall open dialog and spirit here is amazing, it’s what got me so excited to be a part of this in the first place, and the thoughtful feedback and engagement has been great.

I believe we can find a solid plan to pilot this program and figure out the future simultaneously.

Can you go into how the relationship with your operation and “outreach partners” works? How are children selected as “in need”? How are their geographies selected? Who pays for this for these kids when it’s not from coming from an Ethereum DAO? Are there competitors to Fitz Frames who are similar and as part of their mix of business also finds way to support kids in need? I would love to understand this more and get better context.

I also agree that we should do a pilot project first and iterate off that or drop it if it doesn’t work.

In general, I love the sentiment of this proposal. But with anything we do we should be asking – even with charity or social good funding – is this the best most efficacious use of ETH? The spirit is unimpeachable and I love the aesthetic linkage with us Nouns – everyone agrees that any Tulsa kid would look fantastic in some 12 specs. But for example woudn’t it be more efficacious to support an international glasses effort rather than a US one, especially per ETH granted?

And I have brought up the idea in abstract of funding child literacy, so that taking that as a strawman alternative, what makes spending ETH here on glasses less efficacious than child literacy, assuming that both benefit from similar memetic consistency? If we’re spending ETH on the greater good as part of the DAO – which I 100% support! – let’s make sure we optimize for highest impact and memetic consistency.

Thank you @joshuafisher and @gschlumb for bringing and supporting this proposal.

1 Like

Hi @Noun12
All great questions, and I apologize for not replying more quickly. I was rate limited as a new discourse signup (and lifestyle limited as a dad of young kids). I’ll answer your specific questions at the bottom, but I think it merits a bit of background context on Fitz and what we do and why we’re so excited to work with the Nouns community.

Fitz was started by Heidi Hertel out of frustration at getting and keeping quality, reasonably priced, and well-fitted glasses on her two daughters. I experienced the same frustration getting glasses for my son, and joined the company shortly thereafter. Ultimately, our goal was to provide kids (and their parents and families) with a great-fitting, convenient, and reasonably priced glasses. Really to “solve glasses” for families. Not sure how many of you grew up with glasses, or have kids currently in glasses, but it’s a really frustrating experience. This is mostly driven by certain market dynamics: glasses have been made the same way for the past 100 years, usually in large factories overseas, which results in retailers carrying a very limited selection that, if it can be made to fit at all, requires a lot of adjustment. And they’re expensive to boot. And most kids will lose, break, grow out of their glasses, or require an updated Rx at least once during the year. We experienced this firsthand as parents, and even though we could afford multiple pairs of glasses, there was a high degree of frustration, multiple trips to the store, and general unhappiness about glasses. And if it was difficult for us as parents of means, it’s nearly impossible for kids and parents who are on the lower end of the economic spectrum. Even if they have access to an eye exam, they’re frequently forced to take multiple days off work to get the glasses fitted and adjusted. And if the kid loses or breaks them, they’re out of luck until next year. There was a tragic moment when we delivered glasses to a kid in an underprivileged school district outside of Pittsburgh. He had been wearing his mom’s old pair of glasses for the past six months after breaking his own, because her prescription was “close enough to kinda see”. So it’s not just a single exam or single pair of glasses we’re trying to solve for: it’s the overall experience and product of getting and keeping great fitting glasses on a kid’s face.

Out of this frustration grew Fitz. With our virtual try-on, app-based measurement, and made-to-measure 3D printed frames, I can say unequivocally we’re the best fitting, most convenient, and best value around. (This isn’t just startup CEO hyperbole, I see it every day as a parent as well.)

We’ve partnered with folks like Vision to Learn in the past, and are excited to support their vital efforts in as much as we can. They are probably the largest organization doing on-site eye exams and providing free glasses to kids in need, but there are several others. We’re one of their smaller partners (given that we’re a startup) and there are a lot of other companies that also donate frames or provide them at a steep discount.

The big difference with Fitz however, is that we’re not just trying to provide kids with an eye exam and a pair of glasses. We’re looking to “solve glasses” for that kid and their family. We’re doing this in two ways: fit and replenishment.

We measure over 40k points on the kid’s face using the Fitz app and then the glasses are custom made to fit their face. (We adjust parameters independently, so bridge width and angle, temple length and angle, and several other parameters, are all independently adjusted and not constrained by overall) So they fit much better out of the box than conventional glasses. They’re also made of a nylon polymer that is stronger and lighter than acetate. And kids get to pick their own color, style, and personalize the inscription. All of this adds up to a much higher “compliance” rate, meaning that the kid actually wears their glasses. And in most cases they get them faster than conventional glasses as well.

But the big advantage we have is in replenishment. The simple fact is that kids go through a lot of glasses. I’ve seen this up close with my son, and we hear this time and again from parents. For this program, we’re proposing not just a single pair of glasses, but glasses for the year. Lose, break, grow out of them, and we’ll get you a new pair. And it won’t require another trip to the optometrist to have them fitted and checked; it’s as simple as reordering through the app (typically takes under 60 seconds) or contacting customer service. And we can get them a replacement pair usually in under a week. No more wearing mom’s glasses that are “close enough to kinda see”.

Thanks for bearing with the digression, now to actually answer the questions:

Relationship with Outreach Patners-
Fitz has the flexibility and relationships to work with multiple non-profits that provide exams and glasses to kids in need. Heidi works closely with the optical community, including her board positions at Vision to Learn and AAPOS’s Children’s Eye Foundation. This avails us of fantastic partner ophthalmologists, opticians, and optometrists around the country, and around world. We’ve worked with Vision to Learn in the past to great effect, but we’re always on the lookout for other potential partners to get kids the glasses they need or where we can make an outsized impact (say for kids who can’t wear conventional glasses.)

Vision to Learn targets US high poverty schools. (Defined as more than 75% of the students being eligible for free or reduced price school lunch benefits, which track the poverty rate) They currently operate in 13 states and since starting in 2012 have provided 1,250,000 vision screenings in 152 school districts, across 13 states. It is estimated that there are currently 12M students attending high poverty schools and 2M students who need prescription glasses. VTL is funded by donations and grants from foundations, corporations, and individual donors.

The AAPOS Children’s Eye Foundation’s mission is to end preventable vision loss for children. The group consists of pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists and programs include All Children See, where children get can free eye exams regardless of socioeconomic status, and SIBA (Stop Infant Blindness in Africa) which currently provides training, education and equipment to neonatal centers in Africa. Vision is a global crisis, but the US actually lags many countries in treatment. 80% of kids on Medicaid aren’t covered for regular eye exams, so kids from lower socioeconomic communities often go without exams and aren’t treated, meaning they can fall years behind their classmates and give up on school altogether.

How is Fitz different than other options:
Other optical companies have donated glasses to kids in need as well, but program we’ve built at Fitz really is a better solution. Because of our app, which can measure faces down to the millimeter and our 3D printing technology which allows us to make bespoke frames to perfectly fit faces, Fitz makes glasses that fit groups that have difficulty wearing traditional glasses, including African-Americans, Asian-Americans and kids with special needs. While most glasses are designed for one type of face (typically an adult face) resulting in a poor fit that can distract and impede compliance, Fitz provides a perfect fit out of the box. Kids feel and look their best with more comfortable, durable, personalized frames and never have to settle for ones that don’t look right or need to be “grown into” simply because they are free. Again, with this program if a student breaks, loses or has a change in prescription (which often happens with children), Fitz provides a replacement pair at no charge. And all of this is digital process, meaning a student only needs access to a phone or a call to customer service, rather than needing a parent to take time off work or pay to replace their kid’s glasses. Or worse, the kid going without glasses until the non-profit returns the following year. And candidly, we’re a startup. Our rate of innovation, in product, supply chain, and delivery mechanism are just much quicker to iterate. We can build a pilot program in a matter of weeks, implement it, adjust to improve performance, and grow it much more quickly than a conventional glasses manufacturer who is struggling to get last year’s orders into port.

Efficacity and best use to the NounsDAO treasury-
We don’t presume to tell you how to spend the NounsDAO treasury. Doubtless you’d want to allocate some percentage of it to charitable causes, but obviously that percentage is up to you. While of course there are so many causes in education in need of support, undiagnosed vision issues in children and lack of access to glasses as treatment is entirely fixable. Glasses are the foundation of child’s learning, as it’s estimated that 80% of learning occurs through vision. The Johns Hopkins Baltimore study we referenced earlier shows the difference a pair of glasses made in the improvement of students’ academic success. This isn’t merely a US-only problem by any means. We agree that it makes sense to start small, build a sustainable and scalable program, and bring on more outreach partners to help more kids.

The thing that got us really excited about working with Nouns is that you’re using technology to create a new community focused on collective action. And a community that has the opportunity to grow and flourish over time. It aligns philosophically with what we’re trying to do; we’re using technology solve vision issues for kids. Listening to @4156 on Twitter the other day just reinforced that for us. Ethereum and crypto in general can be a daunting thing for most folks to understand but that NFTs are a way of making it more tangible and real. (I’m also frustrated by the fact that my mother’s only crypto holding is DOGE, btw.) Likewise, additive manufacturing and the crisis of kid’s vision are a little abstract to the general public. It’s a lot of jargon and engineering, but when you see a kid in better-fitting glasses, you get it. We think that the story of Nouns and the story of Fitz are very much aligned in that way: technology coming together to build a community which in turn comes together to solve a real societal problem through technology. And the collective story we can tell together is just that much more powerful. We’d love the chance to work together.

2 Likes

Hey Josh & Fitz

I’m an optometrist in Australia in the real world so I’d love for my two worlds to collide. Let me know if I can be of any help to make global impact or if you need a hand with anything with the current project.
p.s Fitz, what an incredible business model you have for childrens eyewear!!

personally supportive of this at pilot scale. i love the questions and appreciate the DD, but it’s clear they are committed and capable of executing to the extent they’ve built their own business. while better alternatives may exist, those alternatives are not (yet) here, engaged, and asking for funding. let’s give the team ~5-10 eth and a channel in discord to see what they can do?

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