COLUMBIA, Md., April 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Foundation Fighting Blindness, the world's largest private funder of early, translational and clinical-stage research for inherited, blinding retinal diseases, today announced it will be implementing a Board of Directors leadership transition plan, the culmination of four years of succession planning. As part of the plan, David Brint has been elected Chairman, effective July 1, 2016. Brint succeeds co-founder and current Chairman, Gordon Gund, who will remain a member of the Board of Directors and will continue to be actively involved in the Foundation's Research Oversight Committee and as a member of the Board of the Foundation Fighting Blindness' subsidiary, the Clinical Research Institute.
Brint steps in as chairman of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, which was co-founded by Gund with his wife, Llura, in 1971 when Gund was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. Gund's leadership has led to extraordinary breakthroughs in innovative research to find preventions, treatments, and cures for blinding retinal diseases that affect more than 10 million people in the United States. The organization has raised more than $700 million and funded thousands of research studies at hundreds of prominent institutions throughout the world. Under Gund's leadership, the Foundation Fighting Blindness has built a remarkable track record supporting science accomplishments in promising areas such as genetics, gene therapy, stem cell therapy, retinal cell transplantation, neuroprotection, pharmaceutical therapies, optogenetics and prosthetic devices.
"David and I have worked closely with the senior leadership team to establish the strategic vision and lay the groundwork that will guide the Foundation Fighting Blindness for many years to come," said Gund. "I strongly believe the Foundation is well-positioned to continue to drive the momentum in retinal disease research. Under David's leadership, I expect the Foundation to help extend the expertise of our research and corporate partners; all working to accelerate treatments needed to continue the fight against blindness."
Brint has helped lead the Foundation Fighting Blindness' research efforts for over 15 years and is currently a Board Director and Vice Chairman of Research. He is also a board member of the Foundation Fighting Blindness' Clinical Research Institute, as well as its Compensation, Government Relations, Nominating and Governance committees, and chairs the Research Oversight Committee. Brint is also the co-founder and chief executive officer of Brinshore Development Company, a national leader in affordable housing development.
Like Gund, Brint also has a personal connection to inherited retinal degenerative diseases. Brint's son, Alan, is affected by Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a rare, hereditary disorder that leads to retinal dysfunction and visual impairment at an early age – often from birth. Determined to find a cure for his son and other people affected by LCA, Brint co-founded the Foundation for Retinal Research, an organization that merged with the Foundation Fighting Blindness in January 2016, to maximize impact on the rapidly advancing effort to cure blindness caused by retinal degenerative diseases.
"I am excited about the opportunity to lead the Foundation Fighting Blindness at such a hopeful time in the history of retinal research," said Brint. "Thanks in large part to Gordon's leadership, each day we continue to get closer to finding a cure for blindness. I look forward to building on Gordon's legacy in driving research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinal degenerative diseases."
Over the last four years, Brint and Gund have collaborated with the Board of Directors to craft a well-ordered leadership succession plan to ensure a seamless transition. According to Gund and Brint, both the rest of the Board leadership and the senior staff management team have extensive experience with the organization and will provide stability and continuity during the chairmanship transition.
About Foundation Fighting Blindness
The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national non-profit organization driving the research that will lead to preventions, treatments and cures for retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal diseases that affect more than 10 million Americans. Since 1971, the Foundation has raised nearly $700 million as the leading non-governmental funder of inherited retinal research. Breakthrough Foundation-funded studies using gene therapy have restored significant vision in children and young adults who were previously blind, paving the way for additional clinical trials to treat a variety of retinal diseases. The Foundation also has nearly 50 chapters that provide support, information and resources to affected individuals and their families in communities across the country.
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SOURCE Foundation Fighting Blindness