Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO, August 18, 2021 — Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit organization dedicated to funding research to find a cure for glaucoma, today announced the receipt of a $1.5 million matching gift from Steve and Michele Kirsch of Palo Alto, California.

The gift will help fund GRF’s collaborative research program, the Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative which brings together an elite team of four investigators from different institutions to work together to discover novel ways to restore vision lost due to glaucoma. Launched in 2019, the consortium is exploring many promising avenues of research including optic nerve regeneration, stem cell replacement, and gene-based therapies. 

To provide additional funding needed for the next phase of the consortium, the Kirsch gift will be used as a matching opportunity to inspire other donors to support this groundbreaking work.

“We are extremely grateful to Steve and Michele,’’ said Thomas M. Brunner, GRF President and CEO. “Steve believes medical research should be collaborative rather than competitive, and he inspired us to establish our Catalyst for a Cure consortium nearly 20 years ago, to join forces with other research institutions to find a cure for glaucoma.” 

Steve Kirsch is a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. 

Michele Kirsch is a dedicated community leader and volunteer. She is a graduate of Mills College in Oakland, California, and earned a JD from Santa Clara University.

Steve Kirsch noted that “the first Catalyst for a Cure team redefined glaucoma as a neurological disease. Now the third collaborative research team is focused on vision restoration which is incredibly rewarding. Michele and I are pleased to provide our gift as a matching opportunity to inspire others to invest in this important project.”

Their most recent gift brings the Kirsch’s total giving to GRF to $2.7 million since 2002. 

In recognition of this gift, the research consortium will be named the Steven and Michele Kirsch Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative.

About Glaucoma Research Foundation

Founded in San Francisco in 1978, the Glaucoma Research Foundation mission is to cure glaucoma and restore vision through innovative research. Learn more.

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