Estimated duration
3 Years
Estimated total value
Northern America; Asia; Africa; Latin America & Caribbean
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB); Ashoka: Innovators For The Public; Deutsche Bank Americas

Eye Fund I


The commitment seeks to reduce blindness in the developing world by rapidly accelerating the expansion of eye care services. The creation of a million debt fund will finance the scaling-up of sustainable eye care hospitals in developing countries. Investors in Eye Fund I will earn a near market return while pioneering a new model of introducing a market approach to reducing the incidence of blindness among the world’s poor.


Of an estimated 37 million blind people worldwide, 90% live in the poorest parts of the developing world. Each year, an additional one to two million persons go blind. It is estimated that 75% of these incidences of blindness are treatable and/or preventable. Without proper interventions the number of blind will increase to 75 million by 2020. To meet this challenge, Deutsche Bank, a catalytic leader and innovator in financing social ventures, is teaming up with the IAPB, the largest association of eye care intermediaries, and Ashoka, in order to create the Eye Fund I, an innovative social venture to provide debt financing for the scaling of sustainable eye care hospitals.
of these programs.

Progress Update

April 2011
-After over 3 years of development, The Eye Fund was successfully launched on January 25th, 2010, providing $14.5 million to finance the expansion of eye care hospitals in developing countries. Loans made from the Eye Fund are enabling the expansion of affordable, sustainable, and accessible eye care for the world’s poor while delivering financial and social returns to a diverse group of investors from the United States and Europe.
-Deutsche Bank partnered with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the largest association of eye care intermediaries, and Ashoka, a non-profit organization that identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs, to launch the Eye Fund.
-The Eye Fund supports three eye care institutions in China, Nigeria, and Paraguay. These hospitals, which are either private hospitals or not-for-profit hospital, have used a systematic approach to attain financial sustainability, while fulfilling their social mission of providing quality eye services to the lowest economic strata. These programs are ripe for utilizing debt financing to significantly expand their facilities, extend their outreach programs and scale up their operations.
-A complementary grant fund has also been established to provide technical assistance, business planning, and training for each hospital. It is expected that the financing from the Eye Fund will enable a 150 percent increase in the amount of eye care surgeries at these hospitals over the next seven years.
-This is the first fund to provide debt-relief to world leading hospitals which use an innovative and pragmatic cross-subsidization approach to attain financial sustainability while providing free or low cost treatments to the poor for the leading causes of preventable blindness. The success of the Eye Fund model has significant benefits not only for the eye care industry, but also for future replication in other specialties such as pediatrics and cardiology services for the poor.

Partnership Opportunities

Deutsche Bank is seeking investors/partners in the Eye Fund I. Investors will earn a near-market return and
simultaneously have a deep social impact in leveraging the resources needed to scale eye care services to the poor. Donors are also sought who will help support the capacity building activities as a complement to the debt financing.

NOTE: This Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is made, implemented, and tracked by the partners listed. CGI is a program dedicated forging new partnerships, providing technical support, and elevating compelling models with potential to scale. CGI does not directly fund or implement these projects.