Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Eye Fund

September 22, 2006 01:18 PM Eastern Time

Deutsche Bank to Launch Investment Fund Supporting Eye Care Hospitals in Developing Countries; Commitment to Launch the Eye Fund I Announced at Clinton Global Initiative

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 22, 2006--Deutsche Bank announced it will create an innovative $20 million investment fund to finance the expansion of eye care hospitals in developing countries. The Eye Fund I will provide loans and guarantees to support the development of affordable, sustainable and accessible eye care for the world's poor while providing a near-market return for investors. The creation of the fund was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York by Deutsche Bank and its partners, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the largest association of eye care intermediaries, and Ashoka, a non-profit organization that identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs.

"The Eye Fund is a real demonstration of a new market-based approach to address a fundamental human need," said Seth Waugh, CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas. "Our goal is to capitalize on our expertise in the financial markets in order to expand this approach to other large-scale projects that currently are fully dependent upon charitable contributions for funding."

"The experience we have gained in microfinance has positioned us well to raise the capital for this new Eye Fund and to help bring another social innovation to the investment community," said Gary Hattem, Head of the Deutsche Bank's Community Development Finance Group.
The Eye Fund is modeled after a proven planning and business model that has enabled approximately 400 hospitals in the last five years to become financially sustainable. The Fund seeks to replicate this success on a large scale, ultimately assisting 4,000 hospitals over the next five years to become self-financing from user fees while at the same time serving the poor. A complimentary grant fund will also be established to provide technical assistance, business planning and training.

Of an estimated 37 million blind people worldwide, 90% live in the poorest parts of the developing world. Each year an additional 1-2 million people lose their sight, and it is estimated that 75% of these incidences of blindness are treatable and/or preventable. Without proper interventions the number of blind will increase to 75 million by 2020.
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