LONDON—The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust announced that it has begun working on an ambitious initiative to lay the foundations for a new $1 billion Vision Catalyst Fund to bring eyecare to all people in the British Commonwealth and around the world. Building on the major achievements in eye health over recent years, led by governments, NGOs, philanthropists and corporates, the Trust is joining forces with civil society, public and private sector organizations with expertise in eye health to develop the Vision Catalyst Fund over the next two years.

Once operational, the $1 billion Vision Catalyst Fund will seek to accelerate systems change and expand universal eye health services led by governments, to provide sustainable and efficient long term solutions for eye health to entire populations in Commonwealth countries and across the globe.

The companies and organizations supporting the fund are: Standard Chartered, UBS, Essilor International, Peek Vision, Clearly, Sightsavers, the Fred Hollows Foundation and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.

“I am delighted that a diverse range of partners are coming together to help develop and progress this exciting and ambitious initiative with the potential to create new approaches to funding eye health, said Dr. Astrid Bonfield, chief executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. “We have a big job ahead of us to shape the Fund, attract investors and ensure collaboration with governments to meet the needs of millions of people yet to be reached. But we have the solutions for universal eye health. We know they work. We now have an historic opportunity to work in partnership and create a fund that can bring sight to entire populations across the Commonwealth and the world.”

James Chen, founder of Clearly, has become the Vision Catalyst Fund’s first supporter, funder, committing $10 million to initiative.
“The issue of poor vision is unique in terms of the number of people affected, the simplicity of the solution which in most cases is a pair of glasses, and high returns for both improving people's lives and the local economy,” Chen pointed out. “I am prepared to meet anyone who is interested in matching my contribution and discuss why this issue can no longer be forgotten."

Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, chief mission officer at Essilor International, remarked, "As the global leader in ophthalmic optics, Essilor has the ambition to eradicate uncorrected poor vision in one generation. While we're making good progress, we firmly believe in the power of cross sector partnerships as the only way to bring good vision to everyone, everywhere.

“The timing of the Vision Catalyst Fund couldn't be better and it has tremendous potential to realise our common dream. We congratulate The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust for creating this Fund and extend our full support," Bhuvaraghan said.