An 11-Year-Old Foundation Fundraiser is Featured on NBC Nightly News

June 25, 2014

Lilly Diuble, an 11-year-old who’s helped raise more than $100,000 for the Foundation through her family’s VisionWalk teams, was featured last night in the “Making a Difference” segment of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Lilly lives with her family in Manchester, Michigan, which was visited by NBC’s Peter Alexander and a production crew last week. In his blog post, Alexander writes that he was drawn to Lilly’s story because, like her, his sister, Becky, has Usher syndrome, a rare retinal disease which affects both hearing and vision.

“We thought the piece was great,” Angela Diuble, Lilly’s mom, says. “It has already helped bring in extra donations for VisionWalk, from people we don’t even know. But more than anything, I’m so happy these rare diseases are getting the attention they deserve, so that we can continue to fund the research.”

While VisionWalk and the Foundation are often featured in the local and regional media, national coverage is infrequent and, thus, helps increase FFB’s visibility. Lilly’s efforts were, no doubt, boosted by the fact that she was recognized as one of the nation’s top-10 youth volunteers by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in May.

Ironically, the Foundation’s chairman and co-founder, Gordon Gund, is getting his own share of national press this week. After recently announcing the Gund Family Challenge—which will match donations of $25,000 or more to FFB over the next two years—he’s been featured in Associated Press stories, The Wall Street Journal and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, among others, with more coverage to come.

“We’re thrilled with this level of visibility for our research efforts,” says Bill Schmidt, the Foundation’s chief executive officer. “Whether it’s Lilly Diuble and her family or the Gund family’s incredible generosity, we’re getting the word out that the research momentum we’re currently experiencing needs support from everyone. It’s very encouraging to see the Foundation’s mission getting the kind of coverage that will help us reach our goals.”