From left to right: Jan McDonnell, Wilmer Director Peter J. McDonnell, Wilmer Board of Governors’ Chair Sanford Greenberg, Sue Greenberg and Dean of the Medical Faculty/CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine Paul B. Rothman. Photo by Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute yesterday launched the Sanford and Susan Greenberg Center to End Blindness.

In establishing the center, Sanford “Sandy” Greenberg, an emeritus trustee of JHU and Johns Hopkins Medicine, and his wife Susan, hope to inspire early-career researchers to pursue out-of-the-box ideas. 

Greenberg lost his sight as a college student, and vowed to end blindness “permanently and for everyone,” he said in an Oct. 14 press release. 

He has spent his life as an inventor, public servant, and entrepreneur, working to improve the lives of those who are blind. Greenberg invented and patented a machine that helps blind people process sound at increased speeds. 

“When I woke up newly blinded, I promised God that I would do everything I could for the rest of my life to make sure no one else would go blind,” Greenberg said, “It was an insane, adolescent promise, but it stayed with me all this time. The launch of this center means the end of blindness is near.”

Initial funding for the center will go towards creating four rising professorships for early-career scientists specializing in research to end blindness. The professorships will provide funding for their salaries and research expenses for up to seven years. 

The program is unique in that professorships are usually provided for more established, senior-level scientists. 

The center will also provide mentorship and grant-writing resources to help young scientists apply for grants. 

Greenberg intends to partner with leadership at Wilmer Eye Institute to raise up to $100 million to fully endow the center.