Our New Name – FAQs

 In Blog

Why did we change our name?

It’s simple: we’ve grown and matured as an organization. And we’re looking ahead to how we can best position this organization for the future. We were never about one individual – we’ve always been for all of the Sofias – all the individuals, all the families, and all the genetic variants associated with LCA. The new name has simply evolved to reflect that. 

Why change the name now?

The pandemic gave us an unintentional break from normal operations, kind of like many of us since early 2020. Unable to plan and go forward with public events, such as our Dinner in the Dark gala fundraiser and our LCA Family Conference, we had time to work on a new name.

Who decided to change the name?

Our President and Co-Founder Laura Manfre has been thinking about changing the name for a long time. Researchers asked her and her family to fundraise when she learned of Sofia’s genetic LCA diagnosis in 2012. She and others founded Sofia Sees Hope in 2014 to advocate and raise funds for all in the LCA and IRD communities, and Sofia came to represent all Sofias. The organization was founded to be inclusive, and we are now updating the name to reflect that inclusivity. 

Has anything else about the organization changed?

Nope. Our mission is the same; only our name has changed, and we hope this will better position us to grow and extend the reach of our work and focus. 

Why did we work with a branding firm?

We’ve come to know a lot about rare inherited retinal diseases, genetic testing, clinical trials, federal drug approval, 27 different forms of LCA, and tons more about rare inherited retinal diseases, but we needed professional help in the branding department.

We found that help through an old friend, Bonnie Southcott, who has been with us since the beginning and knows our people and our mission. She also is Director of Patient Engagement at Toolhouse, a digital marketing firm in the life sciences sector. 

She describes the essence of rebranding or renaming as carefully identifying a brand’s DNA and then capturing it in the new words, look, and feel of the name, the logo, and the tagline. The three-month process involved our founders, board members, staff, donors, and the people we connect with in the LCA and IRD communities. We think she did a great job and hope you do, too!

How was the rebranding funded? 

We are very fortunate to have generous supporters who donated their significant talent, and their time to our rebranding initiative. For the expenses we did incur, these were covered with grant funding designated for administrative expenses and capacity building as we position our organization for the future. 

It is important to us that contributions received from individual donors are used solely for the benefit of research and genetic testing. Meanwhile, our education, outreach, and advocacy programs, as well as our capacity-building activities and administrative expenses are supported by grants and restricted contributions designated for those activities. 

What does Sofia think about the name change? 

She is excited for the update! She has always known that the organization’s mission was to serve the broader community, and she looks forward to continuing her involvement, which has included everything from leading a book club for middle schoolers to supporting fundraising to representing the organization at partner events. 

Will Dinner in the Dark return?

YES! And here is the date to save: Saturday, October 8, 2022, at the Mystic Marriott in Groton, Connecticut.  We cannot wait to gather safely again, for this, and for other in-person events like our LCA Family Conference, A Rare Opportunity, and more. 

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