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The mission of Give Sight Global (GSG) takes social responsibility to the next level by building economic opportunities for developing communities by giving them the tools they need to reduce the prevalence of preventable blindness.
GSG’s goal is to help individuals and entire communities thrive by leveraging the economic prosperity of turning the problem of avoidable blindness into a solution.
Give Sight Global’s story begins in 2013, when co-founder Justin Nabity was invited to speak at the annual meeting for the American Academy of Ophthalmologists (AAO). This is where he first heard about the life-changing impact of cataract surgery and vision care in high-need communities around the world. Justin’s business partner, Reid Lancaster, soon shared in Justin’s passion for such a mission and Give Sight Global was founded as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2017.
Until recently, the work of Give Sight Global focused on sponsoring cataract surgeries to 12 different countries around the world. Wanting to expand their reach even further, the founders Justin, Reid, and the GSG board of directors brought on Aly Bandali as the organization’s new CEO to amplify the mission, innovate the NGO model and make a lasting impact in developing communities. Aly has served on various community and NFP Boards in addition to his 25 years of experience in executive leadership in health non-profit, technology, oil & gas, and private enterprise. Aly brings both a personal connection to blindness, having had been raised by his grandmother who lived with vision loss, and his extensive network and experience in leading non-profit organizations to the Give Sight Global team.
To hear Aly speak about the ambitious work that Give Sight Global is embarking upon, the passion and vision in his voice are reverberating. What sets GSG apart from other non-profit organizations is that it seeks to create a self-sustaining healthcare system and economy within each individual community with which it interacts.
What this means is that GSG wants to not only sponsor the health care that works to reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness in communities, but it also seeks to create a system of transparency and accountability that allows that community to flourish economically because its residents are seeking vision treatment and other healthcare needs for years to come in their very own community.
Many of us are familiar with the phrase, “If you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day. If you teach a person to fish, you feed them for a lifetime.” GSG intends to expand on this by “teaching them how to sell the fish” so that the community benefits for generations to come.
GSG operates through an entrepreneurial lens, taking social entrepreneurship to a new level by “socially amplifying” donors’ investments in a unique international approach. GSG identifies a community in high-need of vision care services and then selects a partner hospital in that area to fund for their project. Hospitals are selected based on their capacity to serve the needed population and their ability to scale their reach. This unique approach is to ensure sustainability amongst partner hospitals and empower target communities by directly involving them.
Each project is essentially treated as its own “company,” in which donors have invested and will receive reports on progress and, eventually, the impact of that project within the community. GSG provides an on-site team for each project to oversee the implementation and train community health workers who go into their own communities to assess and record the vision needs, but other healthcare opportunities that may exist such as access to clean water or prenatal care. Utilizing health workers within each specific community builds trust with the residents and encourages them to seek treatment, whether they are able to afford care or not. Those unable to afford care will be covered through GSG’s donations.
There are two economic components of GSG’s mission. First, those who receive eye surgery or treatment such as glasses will continue to return to the health provider for their needs, such as new glasses or vision care. Second, the communities will benefit from those who have received care being able to return to work or school, thus positively impacting the community’s economy.
GSG also seeks to tackle gender inequity in the communities it serves by choosing women as participating partners and community health workers as often as possible. Avoidable blindness affects a larger percentage of women in developing areas due to their limited access to resources and decision making.
Making donors an interactive part of GSG’s global success is Aly’s passion. What this means is that Aly dreams of a digital dashboard that is updated in real time to display to each donor their impact on the community through which project they donated to. Donors will actively see how many surgeries have occurred, how many students have been able to go back to school, and the financial impact in the community because of their donation. Whether someone is a $10 donor or $10,000 donor, they will have access to see the results of their investment.
This type of non-profit organization is a perfect investment for those who want to drive social and economic independence in underserved areas. Give Sight Global is on a mission to socially amplify donors’ investments creating a sustainable and trusted health network for the communities in which they are involved.
In essence, Give Sight Global’s approach is to leverage their entrepreneurial backgrounds and philanthropic hearts to their donors and help them socially amplify their donation in every way possible, creating a lasting and thriving impact on communities.
Give Sight Global is proud to join the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness as they seek to expand their reach and scale their mission. GSG leadership looks forward to collaborating with other IAPB members and continuing to learn how they can best contribute to the effort of ending avoidable blindness and vision loss.