I have the pleasure of providing you the statement of Foundation
Fighting Blindness’ activities and financial position for the fiscal
year that ended on June 30, 2016. Thanks to the continued
generosity of our donors, the Foundation is in a strong financial
position to continue its work to advance research on treatments
and cures for retinal degenerative diseases.
Fiscal year 2016 was a particularly momentous one for the
Foundation due to the unprecedented success of the Gordon
and Llura Gund Family Challenge. As you have read elsewhere
in this report, the challenge surpassed its goal, raising $111.6
million to further FFB’s investment in vision-saving research
and treatments. The success of the Gund Challenge will allow
us to increase the size and scope of our research investments in
preclinical and clinical trial work, leading to what we expect to be
broad research and treatment applications.
We will now embark on careful stewardship of the Challenge
funds guided by FFB’s Research Oversight Committee’s strategic
plan. The plan calls for a $20 million investment in basic
discovery, translational, and proof-of-concept research every
year for the next five years. The committee, after evaluating the
potential of current retinal disease research and related science,
including gene and stem-cell therapy, concluded that this level
of support for preclinical investigative work has the best chance
of leading to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized
clinical trials and ultimately FDA-approved treatments.
In other fundraising, FFB’s dinners and other social events
continue to do well. FY 2016 revenue from the events program
was $9.9 million. FFB’s Vision Walk program is now in its 11th
year and has surpassed the $40 million mark for earned revenue.
Finally, our direct-response membership program added $2
million in annual revenue.
In summary, our strong financial position is allowing FFB to make
significant investments in critical, emerging research including
in such promising areas as stem-cell and gene therapies. I join
all those affected by retinal degenerative diseases in thanking
our many donors for their generous support of our mission. Our
promise in return is to remain good stewards of these dollars and
maintain our high annual investments in the key program areas
of research and public health education.
Haynes Lea, Treasurer
The plan calls for a $20 million investment in
basic discovery, translational, and proof-of-concept
research every year for the next five years.