Mission Statement

Mission Statement (video)

RP International was established 40 years ago to find and fund the cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa and related degenerative eye diseases.  The non-profit organization funds Medical Research, Patient services and Public Awareness for the nations blind and visually impaired. 

  • In 1984, RPI funded the first successful human retinal cell transplant at Lions LSU Eye Center with Dr. Gholam Peyman. 
  • RPI is responsible for the largest increase in the history of the N.E.I. in one year, $17,000,000, to advance and fund degenerative eye studies. 
  • To date, RPI and it’s committed supporters have raised or directly caused the donation of 350 million dollars to major medical facilities. 
  • Provided free services to 250,000 “national crisis line callers”
  • Brought the miracle of restoring vision from a distant hope, to the reality of clinical and experimental trials today.

RP International seeks to fund and develop the Institute for Degenerative Eye Disease. The Institute will be responsible for the funding and coordination of global research into degenerative blindness, and collection, evaluation and dissemination of information regarding its caused, treatment and availability of services.

The Institute will underwrite its own specific research, information and referral programs; lobby for expanded federal funding of research into degenerative blindness; follow, evaluate and promote promising research projects wherever they may be happening; sponsor professional education seminars; and provide a comprehensive library and counseling service for any individual seeking help.

Funding for the Institute will come from foundation and corporate support, annual telethon, special events, deferred giving programs, endowment funds and its own direct marketing campaign.

Proposed Plan to Accelerate Research in Retinal Transplantation

With significant reductions in federal funding support research across this nation, even the well established scientists are spending more and more of their time seeking and generating support for their research. This focus has reduced the amount of time that they are able spend in their laboratories doing what they do best: searching for solutions to fight the diseases that affect us, our families and our friends. One of the most tragic afflictions that impact the lives of the very young and old alike is blindness.

Six research centers have been identified by sources close to Retinitis Pigmentosa International and the National Eye Institute (N.E.I.) as leaders in work on retinal research.

The internationally recognized scientists are striving each day to discover answers that will help us to understand and fight blindness.

Great strides have been made in retinal transplantation in the past several years. New technologies have been designed. Extensive testing and sophisticated surgical and scientific techniques have been developed.

Scientists are preparing to move to the next level in the research. Despite all of the advances, there is still much to be done.

 Proposed Solution

In order to provide the environment in which these researchers can excel and expedite their scientific pursuits, RP International proposes to raise $12 million dollars. These named endowed research funds or professorships would provide the stable financial base which would allow the researchers to devote their talents totally to the research into the cause and possible treatments of blindness, and provide enhanced programs and facilities of RP International.

 1. Program outline:  "Fund the Cure"

 To find the cure or treatment for degenerative retinal disease, including RP, Macular Degeneration and other related conditions while helping those who currently suffer from these diseases with direct patient services. Using high visibility events such as the Vision Awards, The Eyes of Christmas and TheatreVision, the charity has successfully brought donors directly to researchers. Funding received by these Doctors from this methodology alone now exceeds $350 million dollars. TheatreVision description of movies for the blind is a nationally recognized accessibility technology and art form, even supported by President Bush, Sr. These ancillary program services also drive support to medical research and expands our advocacy base of supporters.

 2. Budget: $1.2 million annually (targeting Medical Research, Patient Services, Advocacy and Public Awareness)

 3. Goals,  Objectives and  Milestones: Identify leading researchers in the field of "degenerative retinal diseases". Bring maximum attention and recognition to theses individuals, corporations and institutions in order to provide direct funding to advance treatments and cures for Retinitis Pigmentosa, Macular Degeneration, and other allied diseases

 4. Monitoring and Success: With the guidance of the President, Board of Directors, Scientific Board, Low Vision Board and leading experts in eye care, RPI provides direct financial support, advocacy to provide public funding, and collaborative grants and initiatives to medical researchers. Monthly, Quarterly and Annual financial audits consistent with GAAP Rules, exist at all levels to ensure maximum benefit from the charities funds. Independent auditors works directly with internal staff to ensure proper compliance of the organizations directives to Doctors, Universities and other grant recipients. At least 4 times per year, written progress reports are submitted and reviewed, results of these updates are generally made in person by the recipients at committee and board meetings to help donors understand the specifics of the challenges faced by researchers and how they intend to address these issues.

 5. Other supporters:

- Terry Semel $100k match to Lincy Foundation Gift

- Lincy Foundation $100k

- Lions International $50k

- Wes Craven $35k

- Frank Agrama / Harmany Gold and Light $25k annually

- Chris McGuirk / MGM $25k

- Microsoft $1Ok 

 6. Program Support letters:

- President Bush

- Governor Schwartzenegger

- Congressman Berman

*Please see attached list of over 500 celebrity, corporate and government endorsements.