To research methods of preventing, treating, or curing diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration—afflictions that impair or end vision for more than 10 million Americans—venture-capitalist Gordon Gund co-founded the nonprofit now known as the Foundation Fighting Blindness. The group has supported thousands of research studies by leading scientists, including clinical trials of very advanced technologies like bionic retinas and gene therapies. “The foundation, existing as an independent private entity, is able to very quickly fund young investigators and fund new and exciting projects,” comments Dr. Donald Zack of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Medical School. As a result, it has “played a major role in getting a number of important projects off the ground which would not have happened without FFB support.”
Since its creation, the foundation has raised more than $700 million to battle retinal diseases—a quarter of that donated by Gund himself (along with his relatives and businesses). In 2014, Gund announced he would match any donation to the foundation made over the next two years. He said his goal was to raise $100 million for the organization, and the campaign closed in 2016 with $112 million in donations, half of that contributed by Gund.
- Foundation Fighting Blindness, blindness.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=65&Itemid=147