London, 11 December 2023
The Vision Catalyst Fund (VCF) is thrilled to announce the recipients of its first financial grants under the Eye Health Accelerator initiative. The VCF has awarded grants totalling £470,000 to the Clinton Health Access Initiative, VisionSpring, the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and RestoringVision. These four recipients emerged from 58 concept notes showcasing exceptional dedication to principles that align with the VCF’s mission.
Reflecting the VCF’s commitment to raising capital differently, the funds for these grants were generated using an investment product co-created with P1 Capital, a UK based investment firm, to develop an Eye Health Accelerator Bond. This simple financial product empowers an investor to deploy at least 4% of their 8% return from a bond towards eye health programmes through the VCF. The VCF aims to offer more and larger grants as the investment in the bond grows in the coming year.
“The Chief Executive of the Vision Catalyst Fund, Dr Andrew Cooper, said, “I am excited to introduce the Eye Health Accelerator Grants, an initiative funded by our first financial product made possible by a first investment from the David and Molly Pyott Foundation. These grants are designed to propel scale and foster collaboration within countries. By providing targeted support to promising models, we aspire to catalyse a collaborative ecosystem where innovation flourishes, and the collective effort lights the path towards widespread and sustainable improvements in eye health.”
The funded programmes demonstrate the following key characteristics:
- Potential Route to Scale: A clear and promising pathway to scale, indicating the potential for a broad and sustainable impact on eye health.
- Catalytic Opportunities: Catalytic opportunities within the programme demonstrate the ability to spark transformative change and innovation within the eye health sector.
- Risk and System Change: Initiatives that embrace a level of risk which are capable of putting in motion significant systemic changes, fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability in addressing eye health challenges.
- Government Commitments and Leverage Opportunities: Alignment with government commitments and strategically leveraging opportunities to maximise impact.
Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chair of the Vision Catalyst Fund, remarked, “This is a landmark day for the Vision Catalyst Fund. When we embarked on the journey, we said we wanted to raise the money differently and fund differently; this initiative represents an opportunity to create a step change in ending the vision crisis.”