Foundation Fighting Blindness Appoints Jeff Klaas as Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer
Klaas brings over twenty years of experience to lead strategies aimed at elevating engagement and revenue.
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
COLUMBIA, Maryland – November 29, 2023 – The Foundation Fighting Blindness, the driving force in the global development of treatments and cures for blinding diseases, welcomes Jeff Klaas, a seasoned healthcare and technology nonprofit leader, to its team as the chief strategy & innovation officer.
Klaas joins the Foundation Fighting Blindness with a distinguished career that spans over 25 years in senior executive global management roles. He brings a wealth of experience and a track record in driving impactful strategies and fostering innovation across a spectrum of industries. His commitment to leveraging technology and innovation to drive social impact and revenue growth aligns seamlessly with the Foundation's mission to drive the research for treatments and cures for blinding diseases.
Throughout his career, Klaas has held pivotal roles in prominent organizations such as the American Cancer Society, where he served as the executive vice president & chief digital officer. There, he led multiple teams contributing to $700 million in annual revenue, emphasizing results-driven initiatives connecting technology to patient outcomes.
Klaas possesses a unique blend of executive leadership in publicly traded companies and a successful track record as an entrepreneur. Along with American Cancer Society, his roles at Blackbaud, and Christie, where he served as vice president of healthcare and vice president of Americas, respectively, underscores his proficiency in guiding large organizations toward significant growth.
Conversely, his entrepreneurial journey is exemplified by having co-founded and served as the chief executive officer of International Audio Visual, Inc., where he successfully navigated the company through capitalization strategies and a strategic transition to a private equity group buyout. Klaas’ dual expertise in both corporate leadership and entrepreneurship uniquely positions him to drive transformative strategies at the intersection of innovation and business for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
A distinguished academic, Klaas serves as a professor in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Social Good at the University of California San Diego, further amplifying his commitment to educating and fostering the next generation of leaders.
“We are thrilled to have Jeff Klaas join our executive leadership team at the Foundation Fighting Blindness,” says chief executive officer, Jason Menzo. “His extensive experience, entrepreneurship mindset, and passion for technology and philanthropy perfectly complement our team. His proven ability to deliver revenue growth will play a pivotal role in advancing our mission toward treatments and cures for blinding diseases.”
In this newly created role, Klaas will steer the Foundation Fighting Blindness toward groundbreaking strategies, innovation, and partnerships that drive revenue, programs, and solutions aimed at driving the research for treatments and cures for blinding diseases. Under his leadership, Klaas will oversee the departments of development, community engagement, chapters, events, and marketing and communications.
“I am deeply honored to be a part of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, an organization at the forefront of research for blinding diseases,” says Jeff Klaas. “This opportunity not only reflects my professional journey but also allows me the opportunity to address the challenges my family and others face by blinding retinal diseases.”
About the Foundation Fighting Blindness
Established in 1971, the Foundation Fighting Blindness is the world’s leading private funding source for retinal degenerative disease research. The Foundation has raised more than $915 million toward its mission of accelerating research for preventing, treating, and curing blindness caused by the spectrum of blinding retinal diseases including: retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, and Usher syndrome. Visit FightingBlindness.org for more information.