The Greenberg Prize is intended to function as a beacon, to signal a glorious new adventure for the sake of mankind. The Prize is merely the leading point of a search to connect with scientific and medical researchers throughout the world. The Governing Council of the Sanford and Susan Greenberg Prize has selected the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins as the administrator of the Prize. The opening date for nominations for the Prize will be announced later. In the interim the Prize will instead be deployed as a positive and rather mysterious force.
The purpose behind the Prize is to create a worldwide research community that will contribute its collective skills and resources in concert, step by step, phase by phase, to end blindness forever as a scourge to humanity. As Jonas Salk did for polio. Dr. Salk convinced polio researchers and charities to reorient their energies and resources radically from focus on iron lungs and the like, to ending the disease itself. It worked; polio is now only a memory in most of the world. The Greenberg Prize has a similar goal – to move from a painfully slow aggregation of small, hopeful, but scattered advances against separate aspects of blindness. The scattering is the hindrance; we need to bring people worldwide together so we can finally end it.
Art Garfunkel is right: we are searching for nothing less than light. The brilliant light from golden ingots is akin to his bottle in the sea. It is intended to stand for our search for the right people. As Dr. Peter McDonnell of the world-famous Wilmer Eye Institute says in the accompanying video, we are indeed closing in on ending blindness itself – yet are agonizingly unable to close the deal. That is why those of us with the Greenberg Prize endeavor, our Governing Council and others, must build this community of purpose. To find the right people, to reach out to them, and to connect them – to close the deal.