Even as a young man, Len Klorfine was thinking ahead. As a stockbroker and then a venture capitalist, he was part of a group that invested in the first digitized ticker tape, allowing stockbrokers to get information with the push of a few buttons.
“I was the only non-engineer in the group,” remembers Klorfine.
Now, after a long, successful career in real estate, Len and his wife, Norma, are thinking about the best way to give back to their community. They’ve supported the environment and culture. And, more recently, vision research at UW Medicine.
“Norma had seen Dr. Van Gelder for a minor eye problem,” says Len. “Then he showed us around the UW Medicine Eye Institute. We were very impressed with him and the institute’s research efforts, and the rest was history!”
Knowing that research was a priority at the institute, the Klorfines endowed a new vision-related chair, which will help the Department of Ophthalmology recruit and retain faculty in the competitive world of academic medicine. “We thought they could do a lot of good by recruiting the very best people,” Len says.
The couple hopes that their gift will spur innovative treatments and cures for macular degeneration and glaucoma, frequent causes of blindness.
“Everybody stands to benefit from new discoveries in vision research,” says Klorfine. “With this gift, we’re making human lives better, and it’s where we think we can do the maximum amount of good in the long run.”
It’s no surprise that the way they decided to give — by creating an endowment — was also done with an eye toward the future.
“We like to endow because the money can be invested and hopefully grow, as opposed to being spent immediately,” says Klorfine. “Even though we’re up there in age, we still tend to look long-term. That’s where the benefit is.”