|ORBIS Receives $5 Million from AIG for Blindness Prevention|
|Largest ever corporate gift to expand ORBIS's blindness prevention programs
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, August 1, 2007 – ORBIS International has received a $5,000,000 grant from American International Group, Inc. (AIG) to ensure the growth of its long-term blindness prevention programs in the developing world. The funding will be used to expand the organization's work in Vietnam, China, India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Latin America.
“Because the fight against avoidable blindness requires comprehensive long-term solutions, ORBIS implements ongoing country programs in order to build sustainable eye care infrastructure and services. These programs address not just the quality of eye care, but the full spectrum of what is needed to connect patients to care. Our partnership with AIG is what makes our work possible,” said Geoffrey Holland, ORBIS International executive director.
The World Health Organization currently estimates that nearly 37 million people worldwide are blind and an additional 124 million have vision so poor that normal life is impossible. Yet an estimated 75 percent of those suffering don't have to be blind. Millions can be cured — right now — because their blindness is caused by conditions that are easily treatable.
Long history of partnership and collaboration
At each stage of ORBIS's development, AIG has contributed substantially to ORBIS's growth and success, whether early on with the Flying Eye Hospital (a fully equipped state-of-the-art surgical and training facility housed inside a specially converted DC-10 aircraft) or over the last decade as ORBIS launched country programs in Asia and Africa. Today, AIG has the distinction of being the leading corporate supporter of ORBIS country programs in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India, Vietnam and Latin America.
Martin Sullivan, AIG president and CEO says, "AIG is proud of our long-term partnership with ORBIS and inspired by its achievements throughout the world. We know that our investment will bring sight and a brighter future to many individuals in these important regions."
The latest contribution from AIG runs from October 2007 through September 2012. Initially, the grant will be devoted to combating blindness by providing sustainable eye care services in China, India and Vietnam. Projects will address the practical, systemic challenges facing service providers, such as improving rural services in Vietnam, developing pediatric ophthalmology centers in India and fostering affordable rural eye care services in western China. AIG's investment will enable ORBIS to bring further surgical or medical treatment to patients in areas of greatest need and enhance the skills of local doctors and medical professionals to better care for their communities.
ORBIS country programs take full advantage of training opportunities offered through the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, hospital-based programs, and fellowships. ORBIS country programs enable the delivery of improved eye care services to millions of people while bringing awareness of avoidable blindness to millions more.
With this gift, AIG joins founding members Alcon and FedEx in the ORBIS Alliance for Sight and is designated a Global Sponsor of the organization. The ORBIS Alliance for Sight brings together the power of corporate sponsors who make extraordinary and continuing commitments to ORBIS's mission. Their contributions range from major multi-year cash grants to critically needed gifts-in-kind for medical training programs and the Flying Eye Hospital.
The partnership announcement was initially launched at the ORBIS 25th Anniversary celebration in New York on March 1, 2007.
About ORBIS International
ORBIS International is a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Since 1982, ORBIS volunteers and staff have directly treated more than 4.4 million people for blindness-related diseases and conditions in 85 countries. At the same time, ORBIS has been building local capacity to provide eye care in those countries by training more than 154,000 eye care professionals aboard the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital and in local hospitals. Long-term national blindness prevention programs take place in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam. To learn more about ORBIS, visit www.orbis.org