The Eye & Ear Foundation is always grateful for any gifts, but two recent ones deserve special mention.
One of them is from Bruce and Barbara Wiegand, who are donating $1,000,000. This gift will be added to a fund previously established by the Wiegands five years ago, which provides resources for EEF to invest in companies that utilize technology developed by the Departments of Ophthalmology and/or of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh which have the potential to further the mission of EEF directly or indirectly and to be commercially viable.
The Wiegands previously donated $500,000 to establish the Wiegand Entrepreneurial Award, which is a grant given to faculty whose research shows promise for commercial viability. This new donation will allow EEF to directly invest in such projects as an investor and not just a funder. The rooftop garden at the new Vision Institute will be named after the Wiegands due to their contributions during the campaign.
“I love talking about this donation and the projects it has and will support,” said Lawton Snyder, EEF CEO. “It is exciting to think that one of these projects can eventually give back to EEF because of the way the Wiegand Entrepreneurial fund has been established.”
The second gift that deserves special mention is from Louis and Dorothy Fox, who made an additional commitment to support research for vision restoration. This expands on their first donation in 2009 to establish the Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration. They signed a letter of intent to donate to the Eye & Ear Foundation out of their estate the amount necessary to establish an endowed Chair at the University of Pittsburgh. EEF has agreed to use these funds to establish a Chair in honor of Dr. José-Alain Sahel.
“It was such a pleasure to work with Louis and Dorothy on this planned gift commitment,” said Snyder. “They are both so committed to make an impact on vision loss, particularly for those who have lost their vision from damage to the optic nerve. I also know how much they both care about Dr. Sahel, as they were the first to visit the Sahels in Paris when Dr. Sahel was being recruited by the University of Pittsburgh and Louis was on the search committee.”