Dr. Marta Witer (OD ’79) and the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation encourage fellow optometrists to come together for a great cause

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Dr. Marta Witer and husband Ian Ihnatowycz
We are excited to announce that from now until October 15, 2023, Dr. Marta Witer and the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation are making a pledge to match all donations made by optometrists across Canada and the US, dollar for dollar - up to $1 million! These gifts will go towards the School of Optometry and Vision Science’s Seeing Beyond 2020 campaign to help fund the Waterloo Eye Institute (WEI).

Dr. Marta Witer (OD '79) and the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation are challenging fellow optometrist colleagues across North America. With the foundation matching gifts, the impact of donations made will be doubled.  

We invite all optometrists to join in contributing to the excitement of building a centre of excellence that will serve our communities, future optometrists, and most importantly, our patients.

Dr. Witer knows all too well the importance of vision care. Becoming myopic as an 8-year-old, Marta had to start wearing glasses. “I still remember my first introduction to the outside world with glasses. I could actually see that buildings were made of individual bricks, the lights were brighter, the leaves on trees came into focus. A new world opened up for me.”

As a student in high school, she became interested in the sciences and wanted to be involved in health care in some way. After a visit to the School of Optometry, at the time a completely new and exciting entity, Marta decided this was the place for her.

Through their family foundation, Marta, Ian, and three children have been active in their continued support for the School of Optometry – including a $500,000 gift leading to the Witer Learning Resource Centre (WLRC) opening in November 2009, and a $1 million donation to help launch our Seeing Beyond 2020 campaign.

Seeing Beyond 2020, is a fundraising campaign to support the creation of the WEI. The WEI will be a national centre of excellence focused on advancing the profession of optometry, not just for current and future students, but for optometric practitioners across the country. The institute will support life-long learning with continuing professional development, research in biomedical sciences and ocular imaging, and new innovative capacity in tele-optometry and distance learning.

“We are tremendously grateful to Dr. Marta Witer and the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation for their philanthropic leadership and further commitment to the Waterloo Eye Institute. With this opportunity to double your impact, I hope that our entire community of optometrists will respond by supporting this once-in-a-generation initiative to advance our profession of optometry,” says Dr. Stan Woo, director of the School of Optometry & Vision Science.

We are so thankful to the many optometrists who have already supported this initiative, and for their excitement to be part of this wonderful state-of-the-art institution. Together we will bring transformational positive change to our looming vision care crisis.

“The Waterloo Eye Institute represents an innovative approach to collaborative research, education, and clinical care in the realm of vision science,” says Dr. Witer. “It is based on sound principles, creating infrastructure to build into the future. I would like to encourage those who have not contributed yet to learn more of our plans and join by making a gift today to double your impact. Together we are strong!”