The Fred Hollows Foundation
|Founded||3 September 1992|
|Focus||Avoidable Blindness and Indigenous Australian Health|
|Method||Medical Training, Performing Operations, Building Hospitals, Community Education, Fundraising|
|Founding Director Gabi Hollows, Brian Doolan, CEO Ian Wishart,|
The Fred Hollows Foundation is a non-profit aid organization based in Australia and founded in 1992 by eye surgeon Fred Hollows. The Foundation focuses on treating and preventing blindness and other vision problems. It operates in Australia, The Pacific, South and South East Asia, and Africa.
The Fred Hollows Foundation was founded on 3 September 1992, by Fred Hollows shortly before he died. Hollows was an eye doctor (ophthalmologist), a skilled surgeon and a social justice activist. Hollows was committed to improving the health of Indigenous Australians and to reducing the cost of eye health care and treatment in developing countries. He had already started project work in Eritrea, Nepal, Vietnam and Indigenous Australia. His work in Vietnam was only in the early stages when he died. However, his widow, Gabi Hollows, followed through on the commitment that she had made to her late husband and ensured that his work in Vietnam (and others countries) continued through the Foundation.
The Foundation works to achieve four key goals:
- Ending avoidable blindness in the communities and countries where they work.
- Improving the life chances and choices of Indigenous Australians through improving their health.
- Working through strong partnerships and cross-sector collaborations – at local, national and global levels.
- Building a strong and dynamic organisation, capable of facilitating effective eye and Indigenous health programs and having a positive impact on public opinion, policies and practices.
The Fred Hollows Foundation has blindness prevention programs operating in over 19 countries throughout Africa, South Asia and South East Asia, including countries such as Vietnam and Nepal.
The Foundation also works to provide a full range of eye health services including eye health promotion, screening, prevention, curative treatment and rehabilitation.
In Africa, The Foundation focuses on comprehensive eye health systems with an emphasis on the training of medical staff, screening for poor vision and eye disease, subsidised treatment and provision of equipment and infrastructure in countries such as Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania.
The Foundation works throughout Asia in countries such as East Timor, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, China, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam to build comprehensive eye care systems at village, district, provincial and national levels.
The Fred Hollows Foundation works in many Indigenous communities throughout Australia, including the Jawoyn community of the Northern Territory. In the Jawoyn community the work of the foundation does not focus exclusively on eye health, but also includes literacy and nutrition work for the community.
In February 2008, the Foundation committed up to A$3 million to build an eye clinic in Alice Springs, Australia. By April 2010, this clinic had not been built with criticism that the Australian Government were relying on a charity to build the clinic. The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said the foundation was best placed to provide the eye clinic service.
The Foundation is a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), and is also a signatory to the ACFID code of conduct that "defines standards of governance, management, financial control and reporting with which non government development organisations (NGDOs) should comply."
Australia's overseas aid agency, AusAID, has accredited The Fred Hollows Foundation, and as such The Foundation is eligible to receive funding from the Australian Government for overseas aid programs. According to AusAID "the accreditation process aims to provide AusAID, and the Australian public, with confidence that the Australian Government is funding professional, well-managed, community-based organisations that are capable of delivering quality development outcomes."
Awards and recognitions
- 2005 – Winner of the National Award for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships in recognition of the successful partnership between The Foundation, Woolworths and the Wugularr community for the Community Stores Program.
- 2009 – Winner of the Gold Star award for non-profit video at the International Fundraising Congress in The Netherlands.
Ambassadors and supporters
Over the years, The Foundation has been supported by a number of high-profile celebrities and athletes, including:
- Tim Macartney-Snape – Mount Everest mountaineer and adventurer
- Nic Cester – musician. Cester's band Jet released a video clip in 2008 paying tribute to Hollows.
- Aaron Davey – AFL Player
- Adam Spencer – TV and Radio Personality
- Jessica McNamee – Actress and TV Personality
- Jimmy Little – Performer
- Julie McCrossin – Radio and TV Personality
- Linley Frame – Olympic Swimmer
- Ray Martin – TV Personality
- Shellie Morris – Singer/Songwriter
- Susie O'Neill – Olympic Gold Medalist
- Joel Edgerton – Actor, Director, and Producer
In late 2009, it was claimed that in the previous year the Foundation lost more than $2 million with the investment bank Goldman Sachs JBWere. A former member of the organisation's British board, Nick Crane, said the losses were evidence of a new entrepreneurial zeal in the Australian head office, and that the foundation was at risk of losing sight of its true purpose because newer members of the Australian management team had backgrounds in business rather than charity. The Foundation denied these claims, and responded that the $2 million loss was incorrect and that The Foundation had lost $270,000 from investments but had actually gained $350,000 income. However, the value of the Foundation's investments had been written down by $1.6 million by end of 2008. After a letter from Gabi Hollows to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, the article was corrected. The Fred Hollows Foundation in New Zealand had also lost no money in their investments in New Zealand.
- Fred Hollows
- Gabi Hollows
- International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
- Orbis International
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- "Fred Hollows denies charity lost money". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Fred Hollows Foundation denies investment losses". ABC News. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
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- "Correction". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Fred Hollows NZ chair says no NZ money lost". Radio New Zealand. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2011.