Foundation supports research to keep people from going blind
Gordon Gund is the CEO of Gund Investment Corp. and a minority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. He formerly was the principal owner of the Cavaliers and a co-owner of the San Jose Sharks hockey team.
As a young adult, Mr. Gund was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited condition that leads to irreversible loss of the light-sensitive cells in the retina that convert light into sight. He has been blind since 1970. The Cleveland native is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit organization that he co-founded in 1971.
A $2 million gift from the Llura and Gordon Gund Foundation could one day prevent people with degenerative eye diseases from going blind.
The gift expands the work of researchers at Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute by establishing the Llura and Gordon Gund Endowed Chair for Ophthalmology Research. The first chair holder is Joe G. Hollyfield, PhD, Director of Research at the Cole Eye Institute.
Dr. Hollyfield is known for his research of cell and developmental biology of the retina in both normal and degenerative conditions. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Experimental Eye Research and serves on the scientific advisory board of the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
Last May, Dr. Hollyfield received the Proctor Medal, the highest honor in vision research and ophthalmology given annually by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
“Joe leads a sophisticated research group at the forefront of investigation of retinal disease,” says Daniel F. Martin, MD, Chairman of the Cole Eye Institute. “This gift will provide resources to expand our inquiry into causes and potential treatment options for eye conditions that cause vision loss and blindness.” Cole Eye Institute is one of 26 institutes at Cleveland Clinic integrating clinical care, research and education for patient-centered care.
“We are extremely pleased to endow the chair at the Cole Eye Institute, and we are excited that Dr. Hollyfield will be the first recipient,” say Mr. and Mrs. Gund. “For the past 35 years, Dr. Hollyfield has made extraordinary contributions to the field of retinal degenerative disease research, and he is just hitting his stride.”
This story originally appeared in the winter 2010 issue of Cleveland Clinic Magazine.
To make a gift supporting the Cole Eye Institute or any area of Cleveland Clinic, visit our secure online giving site, or call Institutional Relations and Development at 216.444.1245 or toll-free at 800.223.2273, ext. 41245.