A Wordly Endeavor

What began, in 1971, as a small group of families with a big dream is now a multimillion-dollar nonprofit investing in various forms of retinal research across the globe. Chairman and Co-Founder Gordon Gund explains how we got here, and why.

Gene Therapy
Genes floating in a liquid
Stem Cells
Stem Cells
Pharmaceutical Therapies
Pills spilling out of their container

When we began the fight against blindness more than four decades ago, we learned over time that we were up against dozens of retinal degenerative diseases caused by variations in hundreds of genes. So developing effective treatments was, and continues to be, a huge challenge. Making that challenge even greater is that the degree and nature of vision loss varies across diseases and people, even those within the same family.

For these reasons, we realized there would be no “magic bullet” for saving and restoring vision. It was incumbent upon the Foundation Fighting Blindness to fund multiple research approaches to eradicate the entire spectrum of retinal disorders.

Throughout fiscal year 2012, we continued to make outstanding progress on several innovative research fronts — from correcting disease-causing genes to replacing lost retinal tissue with stem cells to delivering vision-preserving drugs.

Chairman and Co-Founder Gordon GundChairman and
Gordon Gund

As you’ll see in the grants section of this report, our research effort is global. The Foundation funds 123 sight-saving projects at 76 prominent research institutions around the world, including those in the United States, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel and China.

No non-governmental organization in the world funds more retinal research than the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and thanks to our efforts, more than 15 human studies for sight-saving treatments and cures are now underway.

Five years ago, none of these clinical trials had begun. But our diverse portfolio and ever-expanding network of researchers and supporters ensure that a bright future is ahead.