The Foundation Fighting Blindness has announced a challenge gift of at least $50 million, the largest financial commitment ever made to finding a cure for blindness, from co-founder and board chair Gordon Gund and his family.
The commitment, which will provide an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match for gifts of at least $25,000 to FBB's Envision 20/20 campaign, is expected to raise at least $100 million in new gifts and matching funds by 2016.
"There are nearly twenty clinical trials underway for retinal diseases, and we're expecting several new gene and stem cell-based human studies to commence in the next several years," said Stephen Rose, chief research officer at FFB. "The Gund Family Challenge provides a renewed urgency to drive research that can help us better understand the causes and identify treatments for these diseases and get them to clinical trial."
"This challenge is our way of encouraging others to sustain the Foundation Fighting Blindness' momentum and help it reach its goal of finding a cure for blinding retinal degenerative diseases," said Gordon Gund, CEO of Gund Investment Corp. and a former principal owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Gund lost his sight to retinitis pigmentosa in 1970 at the age of 30. "Our family is committed to finishing the job we helped start, and we hope this challenge requires us to match as much as is needed to fast-track progress for promising treatments from the lab to clinical trials."