AS THE WORLD'S most comprehensive source of information about retinal degenerative diseases, the Foundation Fighting Blindness is often the first place people go to learn more about their condition and gain support and understanding from others who are affected. The Foundation provides a number of convenient and effective ways for individuals to become informed, gain support, and join the fight for treatments and cures.
When a person or their loved one is first diagnosed with a retinal degenerative disease, the news can be emotionally difficult - even devastating. Also, because these conditions are complex, understanding them can be challenging as well. People often first learn about the Foundation from our Web site where they can read all about their disease and the research underway to treat it. From there, they can register online to receive our electronic and print newsletters to stay up-to-date on research and Foundation news. Also on the Web site, they can find a chapter in their community which is having an upcoming social or science event where they can meet others who share their challenges.
As people become acquainted with the Foundation, they are often inspired to sign up for VisionWalk or Dining in the Dark to help raise money for sight-saving research. Our national Visions Conference and half-day Visions Seminars are also big draws for people who are eager to learn and grow. Even if people aren't proactively seeking information about the Foundation or their retinal condition, there's a good a chance they'll learn about us through a national newspaper or television story or a public service announcement. The Foundation maintains a strong media presence nationally and in regional markets. Thanks to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, no one with a retinal degenerative disease ever needs to be alone or uninformed. In fact, by becoming involved in our mission to drive research, people are empowered to make their own future brighter and more hopeful.
Our Online Presence
More than 250,000 people visited the Foundation's Web site, www.FightBlindness.org, which includes 50 chapter Web pages that keep our members up-to-date on local events and meetings, chapter highlights, and local resources. In 2010, the Foundation's social networking presence grew tremendously. We now have: 6,300 Facebook friends, 1,100 Twitter followers, several member videos on YouTube, and many active MySpace users. Members also continued to connect with one another on the Foundation's message boards.
The Foundation continued to provide the research news, clinical trial information, and human interest stories that our members depend on and enjoy. In 2010, more than 70,000 individuals received the Foundation's print newsletter, InFocus, which was mailed twice, as well as our electronic newsletter, InFocus Online, which was sent out six times.
In the Media
Over the last year, the Foundation received extensive media coverage for noteworthy research advancements and accomplishments of our members, as well as fundraising events such as VisionWalk and Dining in the Dark Visionary Awards Dinners. Hundreds of Foundation stories ran in leading print and broadcast media including The New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio. Perhaps most notably, the CBS Early Show and the CBS Evening News featured the Foundation's chief research officer, Dr. Stephen Rose, and the Haas family, whose nine-year-old son, Corey, had vision restored in a Foundation-funded gene therapy clinical trial.
Last May, the Foundation reached Times Square, one of the most sought-after media platforms in the world. Generously donated by Thompson Reuters, digital ads promoting the Foundation and VisionWalk ran two to three times every hour for the entire month on the seven-story NASDAQ screen and the five-screen display on the Thompson Reuters building. A sign in Times Square is estimated to receive 1.5 million impressions per day making this the most visible campaign in Foundation history.
Outreach and Education
The Foundation's extensive outreach and education programs helped raise national awareness of the seriousness of retinal degenerative diseases and provided free information to people who needed it. Radio public service campaigns reached millions of listeners around the country and our print public service announcements reached hundreds of thousands of readers through placements in some of the country's most popular magazines including: "O" The Oprah Magazine, AARP Bulletin, Southern Living and Redbook. As a result of these and other Campaigns, more than 3,400 people contacted the Foundation's Information & Referral Department and received free information to help them better understand and manage their disease. Our educational programs brought people together in their community to learn about research, low vision resources, and the activities of the Foundation. In addition to chapter meetings and science presentations, ten Vision Seminars were held in major markets throughout the country. More than 4,500 individuals attended these seminars, many of whom were new to the Foundation, and enjoyed educational presentations from some of the best researchers and clinicians in the country.
Chapters and Events
With more than 118,000 members and 47 chapters, the Foundation's mission has become a strong grassroots initiative throughout communities nationwide. Thanks to the efforts of passionate and dedicated volunteers, the Foundation hosts hundreds of events throughout the year. From our signature Dining in the Dark Visionary Award Dinners and VisionWalk program to our unique Race to Cure Blindness online fundraising platform, these special events are critical to our fundraising success. To learn more about your local chapter or upcoming events visit www.FightBlindness.org.