Recalling the tropical splendor of Miami in the 1930s, the Diamond Jubilee Gala of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired held recently at the Biltmore Hotel captivated attendees. Close to 400 guests enjoyed the magical evening and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the agency.
Mistress of Ceremonies Judge Marilyn Milián of The People’s Court and Grammy Award-winning artist José Feliciano delighted the crowd with a combination of music, moxie, and name-dropping. Mr. Feliciano, a longtime supporter and advocate of the Lighthouse, performed a 45-minute cabaret-style program. He also thanked the organization profusely for translating his lyrics to Braille for many years.
“Our key sponsors, Mellon Financial Corporation and BlueCross BlueShield, helped our extraordinarily hard-working chairs Alvaro and Jacqueline Cabrera and the gala committee create a wonderful evening,” said Lighthouse CEO Virginia Jacko. “It was a fitting celebration of the hope and independence that the Lighthouse has contributed to this community for 75 years.”
The decor featured a dramatic black, silver and white color scheme. Column lighting, silver garlands and crystalline faceted pendants added a moonlit effect. Iridescent fabrics, black organza and white flower arrangements added to the celebratory mood.
The Miami Lighthouse, the oldest agency serving the blind in the state and one of the oldest non-profits in Miami-Dade, also recognized Shutts & Bowen and the Miami Rotary and Lions Clubs for 75 years of support, as members of all three have been continuously active in the Lighthouse since its founding. Inventor Ted Hentor was recognized for masterminding the JAWS for Windows software that reads computer screens aloud.
Health Foundation of South Florida, whose grants to the agency total in excess of $2 million, was lauded for being the Lighthouse’s single largest contributor while Bascom Palmer Eye Institute was honored for its collaboration on health programs.
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is recognized as one of the nation’s leading providers of comprehensive social support, rehabilitation services and training to blind people of all ages, giving them hope, confidence and independence. Since its founding in 1931, Miami Lighthouse has provided these services and many innovative programs at no cost through the generosity of its supporters.