20 Years of Clear Vision: An Anniversary Blog Series Celebrating RestoringVision’s Leaders, Partners, and Supporters Featuring Erwin Cho

By Stephanie Godward, Director of Marketing and Communications, RestoringVision 

Erwin Cho joined the RestoringVision Board of Directors in 2016, and his motivation for doing so was inspired by the organization’s Founder, Chair Emeritus, and Advisor, Mark Sachs. 

“What inspired me to join the board was Mark Sachs – it comes down to our founder. We had worked together before and were sharing interests, and he mentioned RestoringVision,” Cho said. “I thought it was an organization with such an innovative way of solving a problem that affects so many people around the world. I got interested since I had a personal connection to the problem by needing my own vision corrected, and through my personal relationship with Mark Sachs. Mark shared what a big impact a simple pair of eyeglasses would make for individuals around the world.” 

Cho serves as Chief Consumer Officer for Presbyterian Healthcare Services, where he is responsible for consumer experience strategy, design, and initiatives for the organization. Prior to joining Presbyterian Healthcare Services, he led a team at Kaiser Permanente focused on digital and consumer experience improvements as well as employee-inspired innovation. He is passionate about supporting the solution to the global vision crisis because sight impacts so many aspects of life for people across the globe. 

“It impacts education for those who cannot read due to blurry vision, it impacts sustained livelihoods for those who need eyeglasses to work, and it impacts the quality of life and overall health in terms of being able to see clearly,” Cho said. “Access to vision services and eyeglasses is something that we take for granted in many parts of the world. If we did not have the ability to see up close, it impacts all those parts of our life.” 

While he has been a member of RestoringVision’s board of directors for seven years, he is amazed by the organization’s progress while reflecting on its 20th anniversary milestone that occurs October 2, 2023. “It is amazing to see an organization grow so fast. RestoringVision went from a nonprofit startup at Mark’s kitchen table to an organization that is global in scale,” Cho said. “It is so inspiring to see what one person’s idea and also what a team can accomplish with the right vision, strategy and execution.” 

In terms of RestoringVision’s work today, he is most excited about its advocacy on a global stage.  

“RestoringVision’s engagement with NGOs and international organizations like the World Health Organization enables the organization to make a bigger impact and fulfill more of its mission through organizations that have global reach and influence,” Cho said. “Having more organizations with a global mission and reach will support solving the vision crisis worldwide.”  

He also states that what sets RestoringVision apart is its unique focus on solving presbyopia, near vision loss caused by the natural aging process.  

“Another is our public-private partnerships, which is RestoringVision’s unique model. The partnerships we have allow RestoringVision to scale because it is adding vision health to existing outreach efforts. And we can stay sustainable through private partnerships that offer support through major corporate donors and companies participating in buy one, give one and consumer giving programs. Our work with the United Nations, WHO, and international organizations is bridging all of those elements together,” he said. 

And just as Mark Sachs and RestoringVision’s work motivated him to join the board in 2016, the impact of our work continues Cho’s own personal dedication to the cause. 

“What motivates me to stay engaged and involved with RestoringVision is the impact this work is making, one pair of glasses and one changed life at a time adding up to millions of people a year,” Cho said. “Thank you to the RestoringVision team and all the supporters and partners of RestoringVision.”