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Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute in Toronto Receives $50M Donation

It’s the largest to a vision program in Canada.




Donald K. Johnson
Donald K. Johnson (Photo by Tim Fraser) (CNW Group/University Health Network)

TORONTODonald K. Johnson has announced a $50 million donation to his namesake Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute at University Health Network. This gift will help UHN further transform the lives of more than 5 million Canadians living with eye disease.

The gift, the largest to a vision program in Canada, will enable UHN to recruit and retain vision scientists and clinicians as well as increase research capacity. The investment will also bolster the partnership between clinicians and scientists to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into treatments for patients.

Johnson is “a passionate and committed supporter of UHN and the team that helped restore his eyesight,” according to a press release. Since his first gift in 2007, the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute at Toronto Western Hospital has grown to become Canada’s largest and most comprehensive clinical and research hub dedicated to vision.

“I celebrated my 80th birthday six years ago by making a $10 million donation to the Eye Institute,” he said. “I’m now pleased to share with you that to celebrate my 86th birthday, I am making a donation of $50 million.” He announced the gift a belated birthday celebration outside at his Toronto home.

The Bay Street investment banker and his late wife, Anna McCowan Johnson, have been longtime supporters of vision science and care at UHN. The new investment “provides the long-term infrastructure and resources necessary to sustain and expand clinical research, retain and recruit top experts, and propel future discoveries – ultimately, improving outcomes for patients suffering from vision loss in Canada and around the world,” according to the release.

“Don’s support has totally changed the vision research landscape in Canada. With his significant gift six years ago, we built our discovery research capacity and enhanced clinical research. Now, with his new, transformative gift, the impact will be global and the legacy long-lasting,” said Dr. Valerie Wallace, co-director of the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute and the Donald K. Johnson Chair in Vision Research.


The Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute comprises more than 54 clinicians, researchers, fellows and residents with more than 6,000 surgeries every year and 120,800 patient visits over nine specialty clinics and services.

In addition to research, Johnson’s gift will also create three endowed clinical fellowships in tribute to Drs. Robert Devenyi, Allan Slomovic and Graham Trope – three clinicians who have helped preserve and restore his sight. The fellowships will train the next generation of leaders in ophthalmology.

“Don, you dream big. In every patient whose sight we save, I’ve seen your dreams come true. Today, we offer treatments that, when I stepped into this role, did not exist. The number of patients we are able to provide life-changing care for has gone up and up and up,” said Dr. Devenyi, co-director of the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute.

Learn more about the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute.





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