Graeme Newell

Warby parker–public benefit corporation

Helping Others See

Imagine a public benefit corporation that made it possible for you to help people all over the world to see better. Now imagine you could contribute just by buying a pair of glasses for yourself. Warby Parker is a social enterprise company that allows you to do just that. Its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program donates money to Warby Parker’s nonprofit partners. The amount given depends on the number of glasses sold each month. Supporting Warby Parker directly supports better access to vision care for people throughout the world.

Being able to see can make a huge difference in a person’s quality of life. A pair of glasses can increase productivity by 35%, and can increase monthly income by up to 20%. Over 700 million people lack access to eyewear. As a public benefit corporation, Warby Parker has provided over two million pairs of glasses to people who need them.

Giving Through Training

Another unique aspect of Warby Parker’s approach is in the area of job training. The company states that it does not want to donate its glasses. Donations can encourage a sense of dependency. Donating a pair of glasses is wonderful, but it does not address the root causes of poverty. The giving approach alone does not answer the question of why people cannot afford eye care access in the first place. One of the root causes is poverty, and poverty is prevalent in areas with few job opportunities.

This is why Warby Parker goes beyond donations in its mission of being a public benefit corporation. The company offers job training. Men and women learn to give eye exams and go to work selling affordable, stylish eyeglasses. Warby Parker’s main partner in this effort is VisionSpring. VisionSpring is another public benefit corporation that trains people with low incomes.

Benefits for all

The trainees spread awareness and promote eye health to their own customers. They benefit from their new jobs, and members of the community benefit from eyewear that fits their budget. This also encourages Warby Parker’s partners to offer glasses that fit with local styles and customs. Warby Parker is a public benefit corporation taking on the global problem of eye health and scarce resources. Their job programs give people in need a sense of purpose and self-worth.

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Warby Parker Citizen’s Circus.

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Men and women wears different styles of Warby Parker glasses and for every pair sold, another pair is given to a person in need of it.

Warby Parker offers a Home Try-On program where you can try on five pairs for five days.

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