Grateful thanks to Drs. Bruce Spivey, and Robert Webster
Since 1977 the not-for-profit Pacific Vision Foundation has been committed to excellent eye care by providing substantial financial support for the ophthalmology residency and fellowship programs accredited to California Pacific Medical Center. The department is the only ophthalmology residency program in the United States which is not directly affiliated with a medical school. The independence of the program has defined both its intellectual achievements and its financial challenges.
Originally PVF funded a variety of needs ranging from original research, faculty stipends, and resident travel. However, in response to growing community needs, PVF greatly expanded its mission deciding to establish the Pacific Vision Eye Institute with the goal of providing a home for the residency and Lions Eye Clinic along with an ambulatory eye surgery center.
PVF came into being because early leaders recognized the need for an external source of funding dedicated to sustaining the department of ophthalmology. According to the foundation’s first president, Dr. Robert Webster, “One Thursday afternoon on short notice in 1977, Bruce called Jerry Bettman and me to discuss how to provide financial support for the residency. We decided to create a non-profit foundation to raise money. Our lawyer said we needed a name, a board and a bank account. We decided on Pacific Vision Foundation and we each kicked in some money to start a bank account. Bettman said he was too old to be the chairman and since Spivey was already serving as department chair along with being the CEO of both the medical center and the new Academy of Ophthalmology, so I got to be Chairman of PVF and served for about 10 years!”
Community leaders joined with faculty ophthalmologists, ultimately raising an endowment of $26 million given by grateful patients and philanthropic foundations to support their mission to create an Eye Institute. In 2011, these funds enabled PVF to purchase a suitable building in San Francisco’s Civic Center and later, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation made a $10 million loan to re-purpose the structure for medical usage. Today the Eye Institute is home to the CPMC Department of Ophthalmology, clinical faculty offices, the Lions Eye Clinic, the CPMC Ophthalmic Diagnostic Center, the Frank Stein & Paul S. May Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation, and the Pacific Vision Surgery Center and PVF offices.
These components work together to embrace PVF’s mission to offer patients care for all their eye-related concerns under one roof. A Patient Assistance Fund has been created making it possible to provide uninsured patients vision-restoring surgeries at the same level of care provided to insured, private-pay patients.