6 FOUNDATION FIGHTING BLINDNESS | 2017 ANNUAL REPORT
I am pleased to provide you the statement of activities and financial
position for the Foundation Fighting Blindness fiscal year ending
June 30, 2017.
We are especially grateful for the generous support of our donors.
Their generosity has put the Foundation in a strong financial position
to seed the important early research that will discover the next cure,
maintain high levels of clinical research funding, and respond to
breakthrough opportunities as they arise.
Our stewardship of the substantial funds raised through the Gordon
and Llura Gund Family Challenge is guided by our strategic plan.
Developed by FFB’s Research Oversight Committee, the strategic plan calls for the investment of $20 million in translational and
proof-of-concept research each year for the next five years. Two projects initiated this past year involved commitments of up to $7.5
million each, leveraged with funds from other investors, to get patients into Phase 2 clinical trials. We are beginning to see grants
made decades ago culminate in FDA applications for approval of actual treatments. In addition, thanks to our donors, we are now able
to invest at dollar levels that can push these projects through to the clinic.
The application of nonprofit accounting principles to our financial statements creates two anomalies that merit additional explanation.
These result from a combination of the pace of funding research commitments and the great success of the Gund Family Challenge in
generating an unprecedented level of multiyear pledges.
Our audited financial statements indicate we have future obligations for grant payments of only $10 million, which suggests a
relatively high level of net assets. In reality, we have binding commitments and reserves for identified, milestone-based research
spending totaling $57.5 million. The funding for the additional $47.5 million in grant commitments and clinical trial-related costs is
subject to certain scientific milestones, however; and under generally accepted accounting principles, these obligations may not be
reflected as liabilities on our balance sheet until the milestones are met. If any milestones are not met, the funds committed to that
research will be redeployed into other research worthy of our support.
Meanwhile, the Gund Family Challenge generated substantial pledges payable over multiple years. Accounting rules require that we
record all pledged revenue in the years the pledges are made rather than as the pledges are actually paid or as research projects are
funded. As a result, the funding of research projects creates a deficit for the current fiscal year even when the projects are funded out
of contributions collected during the same year. As additional information, we have presented on the following page our statement
of activities and financial position based on a modified accrual basis to reflect campaign cash intake and research outlays and
In sum, the Foundation has the financial resources and the strategic partnerships within the inherited retinal disease research
community to continue to be the unparalleled leader driving cures to the clinic and the marketplace. With the continued generosity
of our donors, the vision and expertise of our research team, and the energy and leadership of our new chief executive officer, we are
excited to be able to make the significant investments necessary to fulfill our mission.
With heartfelt thanks to all our donors, volunteers, staff, and researchers,
Haynes P. Lea
Haynes Lea, Treasurer