Message from the Chairman & CEO

P=mv. That’s the mathematical equation for momentum. The “p” is for Greek and Latin words indicating movement, the “m” and “v” mass and velocity. So, momentum is equal to mass x velocity. In other words, the bigger you are and the faster you’re moving, the more momentum you gain. Unless, that is, something slows you down.

Now in its 42nd year, the Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national organization with roughly

50 chapters and more than 130,000 active donors and volunteers across the country. The Foundation’s reach is global, and it has a revenue history of almost $550 million. That’s quite a bit of mass. As for velocity, this past decade’s technological and scientific advancements have helped us accelerate drug, gene and cell-based therapies into pre-clinical and clinical trials that were unimaginable at the turn of the 21st century.

Fiscal year 2013 continued to drive that momentum. For the second year in a row, we invested more than $20 million into research and public health education projects while growing our fundraising and membership programs and launching a major-gifts campaign. (More on this to follow.)

This year’s progress wouldn’t have been possible were it not for growing momentum on a variety of fronts. Gene identification as well as drug and gene therapy development are moving at breakneck paces, compared to 10 years ago. Just as impressive is recent progress in a field the Foundation’s been behind since its inception: stem cell research. In “Beating the Curve”, Dr. David Gamm, a Foundation-funded clinician-researcher, explains why cell-based therapies are so promising and how a project he’s leading could restore sight to those affected by a variety of retinal diseases.

Our grassroots efforts — chapter and dinner events, 5K VisionWalks and other activities — continue to fuel fundraising and awareness-building nationwide. One reason is that, in each FFB chapter, take-charge members are inspiring others to up their games. “It’s Never Too Late” spotlights Martha Steele, a Boston-area resident whose work in 2013 (and previous years) with the local chapter and VisionWalk exemplifies optimal grassroots advocacy.

There’s much more to share from fiscal year 2013, as you’ll see. But before you dive into this report, we want to offer you a glimpse of the Foundation’s future — Envision 20/20: The Campaign to End Blindness, a campaign to ensure we continue to grow our momentum. Launched this year, the campaign aims to raise $300 million by 2020.

As FFB’s first initiative of this magnitude, The Campaign to End Blindness is truly a means to an end. Thanks to the sustained momentum built by you, our dedicated donors and volunteers, now is the time to end blindness. We look forward to updating you on this campaign in the coming months and years.

Until then, we thank you for an extraordinary year and invite you to dive into the details of this report.

Gordon Gund,
Chairman and

William T. Schmidt,

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Learn More

  • Discover the Foundation’s research momentum in stem cell therapies. Go Now >
  • Check out a top research story of 2013. Go Now >

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