The Foundation Fighting Blindness

Foundation Fighting Blindness

This weekend, the Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk comes to Buffalo, our hometown. We could not be more excited to have them here and to support such an amazing cause. In our blog this week, we would like to share a little bit more information about this incredible non-profit organization.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness began in 1971 under the leadership of Gordon and Llura Gund and Ben and Beverly Berman. Little was known at the time about what led to blindness. However, the goal was clear: they wanted to drive the research that would lead to preventions, treatments, and vision restoration for the degenerative retinal diseases.  

How Is The Funding Spent?

In an effort to achieve their goal, the Foundation has raised over 725 million dollars dedicated to finding treatments that will reverse blindness and restore vision. It has become the world’s leading private funder of retinal disease research.

Funding from the Foundation has been used to identify more than 250 genes linked to retinal disease and has launched 20 clinical trials that could lead to potential treatments and cures.

Not only that, the Foundation (in conjunction with the Foundations Clinical Research Institute) funds more than 100 grants annually. These research programs are conducted by research investigators at institutions, eye hospitals and universities from all over the world.

The types of grants that are funded for innovative and cutting-edge research in the following areas: genetics, gene and stem-cell therapies, retinal cell transplantation and pharmaceutical and nutritional therapies. They have found that their funding has become the “critical bridge between discovery research, proof of concept, and corporate investment in clinical trials and commercialization.”

The Foundation works with commercial entities (i.e., pharmaceutical companies) to develop new compounds (potential drug treatments) for retinal degenerative diseases. If the outcomes of the research are positive and supported, the Foundation’s Clinical Research Institute will work with those companies to make viable commercial products for patients.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness truly believes in fighting retinal diseases and giving back through their research and educational programs. On average, the Foundation invests approximately 75% of their budget in research and public health education programs.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk

The Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk is a signature fundraising event that has raised over 45 million dollars since its inception. It began in 2006, as a way of raising additional funds for sight-saving research.

The Foundation is accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. It is a nation-wide walk that is open to anyone who would like to participate. You can sign up for the walk as an individual or gather a group of friends or co-workers and sign up as a team, here.

They have several walks already scheduled across the country, so check out their website and find the walk nearest to you. If you would like to donate to the Foundation Fighting Blindness but are unable to attend a VisionWalk, please click here. The link will take you directly to the Foundation Fighting Blindness donation page.

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This article has been written by Sarah Bowman