A Boston Area Financier Fights For Sight

The son of Continental Cablevision cofounder Irv Grousbeck, Wyc Grousbeck grew up in Weston, Massachusetts. Armed with degrees from Princeton, University of Michigan, and Stanford, Grousbeck went on to make partner at Highland Capital Partners, specializing in start-up medical technology investments. In 2002, Grousbeck helped spearhead a local investment group that acquired the storied Boston Celtics franchise, of which Grousbeck now serves as CEO.  

Grousbeck moves philanthropy through his Grousbeck Trust, a low-profile charity which awarded about $4.4 million in a recent year. Grousbeck chairs the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, which he’s strongly supported for years. Another important grantee is Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, a venerable two-centuries-old institution that once helped educate Helen Keller.

Why has Grousbeck focused on issues of sight?

The story is deeply personal. Grousbeck and his ex-wife Corrine’s son Campbell has Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), an inherited retinal degenerative disease characterized by a severe loss of vision at birth. The couple was based in the Bay Area at the time and were jarred by the diagnosis. As Corrine told ESPN, "It hits you pretty hard…Most of it was [feeling] sorry for him, a lot of sort of grieving over expectations that are not going to be met."

Disbelief soon gave way to action: the family found Perkins and moved back to the East Coast. Corrine now chairs the board of Perkins and has led fundraising efforts. Grousbeck and baseball player Derrek Lee formed Project 3000 in order to secure genetic testing for the approximately 3,000 people afflicted with the disease and to eventually find a cure.

In the wake of the couple’s divorce and Grousbeck’s remarriage, it’s unclear what additional directions his philanthropy may take. But given the powerful personal elements involved, it’s likely that issues of sight will remain a high priority. The family also has ties to California (Grousbeck’s parents have a charity that supports Golden State organizations), which may emerge as another significant site of giving. For a complete overview of this funder, click our link below.

Related: Wycliffe Grousbeck