Fundraising News: Moorfields to construct largest child eye facility

Joe Gill

Moorfields Eye Hospital has raised more than £10m, mostly from just 15 major donors, to build the world's largest hospital dedicated to treating child blindness.

The project is entirely funded by private donations to an appeal that has so far raised £10m toward the £13.5m needed to build the facility and begin medical research into children's eye disease.

Moorfields, in the City of London, treats around 20,000 children each year from all over the UK and most countries in the world, and is the last port of call for families trying to restore their child's sight. It leads the field in many areas of paediatric ophthalmology.

The new 'hospital within a hospital' is needed to replace the cramped and overcrowded facilities, which do not have adequate space for play and recuperation.

"The fundraising strategy we adopted was very deliberate to ensure we secured all the big gifts before we launched the appeal publicly, and we've been successful at raising two-thirds of our target from less than 15 donors," said Ian Balmer, chief executive of Moorfields.

Since the capital appeal began in 2000, many of the biggest philanthropists have contributed, including seven-figure donations from Garfield Weston Foundation, Trusthouse Charitable Foundation and Sainsbury's Linbury Trust.

Donations of between £250,000 and £750,000 came from trusts including the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust and Ronald McDonald's Children's Charities.

Fundraising consultants Main Street Health directed the appeal. Principal partner John Sullivan said: "The reason for Moorfields' success is that the hospital's board, administration and doctors have always been clear about what they wanted from this project."

Moorfields' appeal vice-chair, Lady Jacomb, added: "We have gone to great lengths to involve each donor personally in the project so that every gift would meet both the donor and the hospital's objectives."

Construction of the new hospital is due to commence soon.

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