The Healthy Eyes for Life Foundation was born into reality on August 21. A tangible outcome of the Eye Health Summit held in July in Chicago, this new organization has been charged with a substantial task…and opportunity.
The organization's mission is to increase the public's awareness about the importance of eye health through a nationwide messaging campaign that directs people to take better care of their eyes. A lofty goal for sure; but one important to our entire populace.
I was honored to participate in the Eye Heath Summit. From my chair, it was clear that ours is not only a "cause" but also one with many potential "campaigns." These potential campaigns encompass everything from diabetic health care to nutrition to vision's impact on education. Our eyes are both a window to the world around us but also a window to our body. The public needs a consistant message that drives home this message and the opportunity for institutional and corporate tie-in is tremendous.
This new organization may result in the consolidation of other existing foundations; resulting in more focused and efficient resources. The message must be delivered with credibility and the messaging cannot be perceived by potential non-industry supporters as being promulgated for self-serving purposes (ie; to sell more frames, lenses, eye exams, etc.). Accordingly, I hope that the steering committee recognizes the importance of selecting an organizational leader from outside of our industry's ranks. Certainly, there are many within the industry who have the inate capability to handle the job. However, were this new organization to be led by an industry insider, the result would be, in my opinion, a dramatic reduction in the credibility of the mission, Such an action would likely limit the organization's ability to gather the support of non-industry enterprises, which is critical to it's long term success.
Think big! The Healthy Eyes for Life Foundation has an incredible opportunity to benefit mankind; and our industry. It will be best served by a spokesperson of substance such as Peter Euberroth, Colin Powell or Bill Clinton; and by organizational leadership with nationally recognized experience in this type of enterprise and campaign.