Donations to the National Eye Institute

The National Eye Institute (NEI) is a Federal Agency of the United States Government and is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3). Contributions to the NEI are tax-deductible pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 170.

Gift Fund

Although the National Eye Institute (NEI) is a federally funded organization and not a fund-raising organization, it has been authorized by the U.S. Congress to accept donations and bequests to support the mission of the Institute.

Donations to the NEI are handled in our “Gift Fund” account which is separate from the appropriation that we receive from Congress. Since our basic operating expenses and administrative costs are paid from our appropriation, all donations to the NEI are used for special projects in support of vision research.

The projects supported through the Gift Fund may vary from year to year depending on the needs of the Institute. The following is a partial list of areas that have been supported through the Gift Fund:

Special fellowships to train young scientists in vision research.
Special equipment for research laboratories.
Payment for patients’ travel to the Clinical Center to participate in clinical protocols.
Workshops/conferences on subjects of special importance to vision research.
Contributions can be made to the NEI by sending a check or money order payable to “The National Eye Institute” addressed to:

Budget Officer
National Eye Institute
Building 31, Room 6A16
31 Center Drive MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510

A letter should be sent along with the check indicating that the donation is to be used for research at the NEI. If a contribution is to be made as a memorial, please indicate the name of the deceased as well as a name and address of the individual to whom an acknowledgment can be sent. All donors are acknowledged in writing.

If you are considering a bequest in a will, the will should show the name and address of the National Eye Institute to avoid confusion about your intentions. Again, the will should indicate that the bequest is to be used to support the research of the NEI.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to write or call the NEI Financial Management Branch at (301) 496-5243. You may also e-mail any questions to

Additional information regarding the NEI and its programs can be obtained by calling the Office of Communication, Health Education, and Public Liaison at (301) 496-5248.