It’s quite a list. On it, among others, are the Gateses, a Rockefeller, Google’s co-founders, a former New York City mayor and the founding president of Facebook. A list of America’s richest people, you ask? Well, not exactly. Compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “The Philanthropy 50” is a ranking of the country’s top donors in 2014, who gave almost $10 billion, collectively, to a plethora of non-profits. Coming in at #37 is a couple near and dear to FFB’s heart—Gordon and Llura Gund.
To those associated with the Foundation, the Gunds are legendary. Along with a few other families affected by retinal diseases, they co-founded FFB in 1971, when Gordon had already lost most of his vision to retinitis pigmentosa. For decades now, Gordon—a successful businessman, financier, sports-team owner and entrepreneur—has been completely blind. But the Gunds have never wavered in their support of the Foundation, which has raised $600 million and driven research resulting in more than a dozen treatments in clinical trials today.
It was the need to continue this momentum that compelled the Gunds to create The Gordon and Llura Gund Family Challenge this past summer. Pledging $50 million, they promised to match qualifying donations to the Foundation of $25,000 or more over the next two years. Hence the reason they landed on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list.
If you look closely, however, you’ll see that the Gunds’ contributions total more than $58 million in 2014. That’s because they gave to FFB in many other ways, including via match campaigns and research funding—as has been their practice for decades. Only this time, we at FFB are not the only ones who know it; many others do, too.
Picture, above: Gordon and Llura Gund, co-founders of the Foundation Fighting Blindness.