By Stephanie Godward, Director of Marketing and Communications, RestoringVision
Chris Harris joined the RestoringVision Board of Directors in 2009. As he reflects on the journey from then to now, Chris is amazed by the organization’s transformation and the magnitude of impact from its efficient, cost-effective, and scalable model.
“RestoringVision has been an incredibly dynamic organization that has grown from providing tens of thousands of glasses per year to now serving millions of people globally with the eyeglasses they need through new and innovative delivery models,” Chris says. “The transformation of the organization has been so exciting. I am proud to say that RestoringVision is aiming to positively impact 4 million lives in 2023, which is remarkable for an organization of this size.”
Chris is a Managing Partner at FFL Partners (“FFL”), a San Francisco-based private equity firm that invests in middle-market companies. He joined FFL in 2008 and leads the healthcare team. FFL has made four investments in the eye care space—Eyecare Partners, Eyemart Express, Versant Health, and New Look Vision.
“I’ve been involved with RestoringVision for a long time, and I am passionate about this organization’s mission because it makes a fundamental and positive difference in the lives of millions of people every year,” he says. “Vision is a right and, through our work at RestoringVision, we can help to drive systemic changes and enable people to recover their ability to see properly.”
Vision impairment is a global health crisis in which over one billion people across the globe have a vision impairment could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed. Over 90% live in low-to-middle income countries and have limited access to vision services and eyeglasses.
“Economic issues are certainly a significant part of this global problem, but at a more basic level, people should be able to see without impairment. For only a couple of dollars, we can provide someone with the means to see better. The social ROI on that is off the charts,” Chris says.
Chris initially joined RestoringVision’s Board of Directors after being invited by Reade Fahs, CEO of National Vision, Inc. and a fellow board member. He says what has kept him dedicated year after year has been the organization’s mission and its ability to grow and continually evolve. His Gmail folder for RestoringVision documents is named “Billions” to represent the full magnitude of the problem.
“RestoringVision has the right suite of resources and people coming together to create a life-changing impact for a billion people worldwide. There aren’t many causes that have that level of magnitude and potential to correct vision impairment,” Chris says.
Chris has been particularly inspired by RestoringVision’s work in aligning the prioritization of eye health with the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and our leadership at the level of the World Health Organization.
“We are working with ecosystem partners to really make a dent in the issue – this is where it can go from millions to billions, and where the reshaping of eye health priorities can take place,” Chris says. “This is a very efficient model. If we raised a billion dollars, we could reach 70 percent of the people in the world who can’t access or afford to buy reading glasses. We are getting more traction, and the good news is that it is a solvable problem, and people are working together to make real progress. It is life changing.”
In addition to the RestoringVision Board, Chris currently serves on the Board of Directors of Eyemart Express, New Look Vision Group, and several other healthcare companies. He graduated with distinction from Stanford University with a B.S. degree in Management Science & Engineering and earned an M.B.A degree from Stanford University Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Miller and a Siebel Scholar. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife Jamie and three kids, Caden, Emma, and Allie.