See The Light Luncheon
2020 Virtual See The Light Luncheon
Miami Lighthouse's annual signature event, our "SEE THE LIGHT" Luncheon, was held on Thursday October
past years, we've welcomed over 250 guests from our philanthropic family to a luncheon with music, entertainment
and heartfelt remarks from program participants.
In keeping with the times of social distancing we went virtual. Instead of 250 guests in a ballroom, we had
nearly 1,000 attendees view our virtual program. The production was sponsored by PNC Bank which featured an
exclusive performance by Latin superstar Willy Chirino and Chirino Sisters, students in our Lighthouse Learning
Center for Children™, Miami Lighthouse client Marin Baumer, student and parent Naaya & Ali, and the virtual
groundbreaking ceremony of the expansion to our Lighthouse Learning Center for Children™!
CLICK HERE to view our Virtual See The Lunch page and the list of
our “Table Captains”.
2019 See The Light Luncheon
MIAMI LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND CELEBRATES 90 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF “LIGHT THE WAY” VIDEO
The spectacular new contemporary clubhouse of the Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables was the scene of this year’s
“See the Light” luncheon on Thursday, October 24th. Over 250 guests enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres before sitting
down for a wonderful lunch and watching a fascinating program led by Emcee Marissa Bagg, a journalist from NBC-6.
The program began with Miami Lighthouse’s Music Program student Silvio Plata singing “Por Ti Volare”, followed by a
singing performance by the adorable early learners from our Miami Lighthouse Learning Center for Children™. Virginia
A. Jacko, President & CEO, announced the "Light the Way" Video which introduced our 90th Anniversary $4.5 million
one-for-one matching challenge to raise $9 million to expand the Miami Lighthouse Learning Center for Children™.
The keynote speech by blind Paralympian Danelle Umstead held the audience spellbound as she told her story of how
the Miami Lighthouse believed in her as a blind downhill skier and how she ultimately became a 4-time Paralympic ski
medalist, the first blind contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and today is a sought-after motivational speaker. To
give back to the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, she traveled to Miami and spoke pro bono.
The highly successful event raised more than $150,000, which will be matched dollar for dollar, according to
President & CEO Virginia Jacko. Sponsors for this year’s luncheon included GenSpring/SunTrust Private Wealth, H.
Angela Whitman Foundation, Norma Jean Abraham, El Carajo International Tapas & Wines, Monster Sound Production,
Orchids by Olivier and Marlen Caudron, and MultiVision Video & Film.
2018 See The Light Luncheon
MIAMI LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND CELEBRATES NEARLY 90 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE IN VISION REHABILITATION
For the more than 250 community leaders who attended the annual "See the Light" luncheon on October
25th, the focus was on how Miami Lighthouse has transformed the lives of the blind and visually impaired in our
community. The theme of excellence in vision rehabilitation was demonstrated by the speakers and musicians on
the program which began with "You Raise Me Up" by vocalist Arantza Espinosa, Miami Lighthouse student
and winner of Melodias del Alma, the first International Blind Singing Competition and The Children's Trust
Young Talent Big Dreams 2012 competition. They keynote address was given by Joseph Chica, former Miami
Lighthouse program participant and current student at the University of Miami who was accompanied by his guide
dog Gunner. Joseph told the luncheon guests how his family enrolled him in the Miami Lighthouse Early
Intervention Program at age three. He continued to receive vision rehabilitation training throughout his school
years, learning how to use a white cane and participating in orientation and mobility training which was a
prerequisite for his getting a guide dog.
In her remarks CEO Jacko expressed gratitude for the vision rehabilitation training she received at Miami
Lighthouse that enabled her to fully utilize her executive skills after becoming blind and to lead the
organization dedicated to helping others learn how to excel despite vision loss and to lead confident,
independent and productive lives. Attendees viewed a video underwritten by event sponsor Northern Trust entitled
"It's Possible to See without Sight™" which showcased the comprehensive scope of the
transformational vision rehabilitation and eye care programs offered by Miami Lighthouse.
Miami Lighthouse serves 35 times as many program participants as it did in 2004, now providing life-changing
vision rehabilitation and eye care to more than 17,000 individuals annually. To help meet this extraordinary
increase, luncheon guests were apprised of the opportunity to participate in two dollar for dollar challenges to
help Miami Lighthouse empower visually impaired program participants. The new four-year Wildflower $1 million
matching challenge will support visually impaired participants in the Music and Tactile Art Programs, and the
Spencer challenge of up to $500,000 a year to sustain programs for blind early learners in the Miami Lighthouse
Learning Center for Children™ continues for the next three years. For information on how you can support
services for the blind and visually impaired in our community call CEO Virginia Jacko at 305-856-4176.
The program concluded with a spirited rendition of "We Are Family" performed by the visually impaired
program participants of the Miami Lighthouse United Voices Choir. Sponsors of the See the Light luncheon
included Northern Trust, The Art of Shaving, Norma Jean Abraham, an anonymous donor, Monster Sound Productions,
Rimland's Nursery and El Carajo.
2017 See The Light Luncheon
Miami Lighthouse Luncheon Emphasizes How the Blind and Visually Impaired Lead Confident and Independent Lives
For the 200 community leaders attending our 2017 See the Light Luncheon, the focus was on the opportunity to
raise funds necessary to sustain programs that improve the lives of children through our new innovative Learning
Center for early learners.
On October 12, the See the Light Luncheon filled the ballroom at the Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables with
enthusiastic supporters who learned about the capabilities of the blind from various perspectives.
Keynote speaker and best-selling author and survivor of the World Trade Center disaster Michael Hingson urged
the audience to stand up for the rights of the visually impaired and empower them to achieve their full
potential. He noted that the unemployment rate among the blind currently stands at 70 percent, even though a
clear majority of that population is able to join the workforce.
"It's not that blind people can't do the jobs," Mr. Hingson said. "It's other people who
don't believe that blind people can do the job."
Later in the luncheon, philanthropist Mary M. Spencer announced that she has established a new challenge grant,
which will match dollar for dollar private contributions to Miami Lighthouse during the next four years to a
maximum of $2 million. She explained that the challenge is intended to motivate others to support the Miami
Lighthouse Learning Center for Children™ to create the type of opportunity for today's blind children that
Mr. Hingson advocates.
Sponsors of our See the Light Luncheon included The Art of Shaving, JM Private Insurance, GenSpring Family
Offices and Serendip-A-Tea.
2016 See The Light Luncheon
Matching Challenge Announced At “See The Light Luncheon” Celebrating Miami
Lighthouse’s 85 Years Of Service
The Wildflower Foundation, offered a one-for-one matching challenge to
donors of $150,000 to be raised by the end of 2016, the first year of a
four-year matching challenge. Funds raised will be used for critical
Generously underwritten by Nostro Jones, P.A., GenSpring Family Offices
and the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation, the event was attended by nearly
300 community leaders at the Riviera Country Club.
NBC-Channel 6’s John Morales emceed the event that began with a
performance by Miami Lighthouse Music Program student Danays Bautista who
sang “Amazing Grace.” The keynote speaker was Paul Schroeder, Consultant &
Past Vice President of the American Foundation for the Blind, who has been
totally blind since early childhood. Mr. Schroeder spoke about the
important role of the Miami Lighthouse in the lives of the blind and
Guests viewed a video produced by Multivision that features Miami
Lighthouse clients participating in various programs.
2015 See The Light Luncheon
Miami Lighthouse Launches 85th Anniversary
Celebration Braman Family Foundation Pledges $1 Million To Center Of
Miami Lighthouse marked the start of its 85th year serving the blind and
visually impaired with CEO Virginia Jacko announcing at its annual See the
Light luncheon that the Braman Family Foundation has pledged a $1 million
leadership gift toward the expansion of its Center of Excellence to create
a new facility, the Lighthouse Learning Center for Visually Impaired
Children, which will be matched by an anonymous donor. The much needed new
Center will serve as a pre-kindergarten for blind three-and four-year
olds, an early intervention center for children from birth to age three
and provide a venue for learning laboratories and recreation.
Keynote speaker Thomas J. Wlodkowski, Comcast Vice President for
Accessibility, told the audience about Comcast’s collaboration with Miami
Lighthouse to pilot the new Comcast Talking Guide. The Spanish language
version of the Comcast Talking Guide was unveiled at the luncheon. The
innovative new system allows a visually impaired person, using either
English or Spanish, to access TV program selection through audio output.
Emceed by Coral Gables Chamber President & CEO, Mark Trowbridge, the event
was sponsored by Comcast, Nostro Jones P.A. and GenSpring and was attended
by more than 250 community leaders and philanthropists. Hors d’oeuvres
were provided by Norma Jean Abraham and Lighthouse logo cookies were
provided by Jan Morrison.
For information: Cameron Sisser, 786-362-7515, or visit
2013 See The Light Luncheon
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind Announces New Incentive Challenge at See
the Light Luncheon
Hosted by Bessemer Trust, Shutts and Bowen LLP and the Miami Dolphins,
more than 200 of South Florida’s philanthropists and community leaders
attended the See the Light Luncheon at Riviera Country Club on November
14th. With the generosity of the Wildflower Foundation, a new incentive
challenge was announced which will run through the end of 2014.
Operating funds were raised to support programs, such as Braille literacy,
computer and digital technology and math laboratory curriculum, to empower
young children and teenagers with skills to be competitive and highly
productive despite their blindness. Funds will also be used to support
Miami Lighthouse’s nationally recognized Better Chance Music Production
Program™ student vocalists and musicians.
Miami Lighthouse’s Better Chance Music Production Program™ student
vocalist Angel Wallace began the lunch by singing “God Bless the USA,” and
Keynote Speaker Pete Gustin, who has overcome his visual impairment to
become the voice over artist of the Miami Dolphins, spoke to attendees
about programs and services Miami Lighthouse provides and how essential
they are to the community.
Supporters and sponsors of the lunch will enable Miami Lighthouse to
educate more blind and visually impaired youth and empower them with the
skills necessary to live successful, independent lives. According to CEO
Jacko, these funds will help meet the demand of a nineteen-fold client
increase since 2004; now serving 9,500 individuals annually.
For more information call Cameron Sisser, 786-362-7515 or visit
2012 See The Light Luncheon
Miami Lighthouse For The Blind Celebrates The Completion Of Its Spencer
Educational Empowerment Center Challenge
Hosted by Bessemer Trust, Shutts and Bowen LLP and Commissioner Sally
Heyman, more than 200 South Florida community leaders attended the See the
Light Luncheon at La Gorce Country Club on November 15th.
Major contributors to the capital campaign honored with ceramic plaques
made by blind children and adults were The Reverend Marta Weeks, Jan and
Dan Lewis, Penny and Roe Stamps, Jacquelyn Hegamyer Hinckley and Katharine
Hegamyer. Ruby Jubilarians were also recognized.
Operating funds were raised to support programs in the new facility, such
as, Braille literacy, computer and digital technology and math laboratory
curriculum, to empower students with skills to be competitive and
productive despite their blindness.
The new Fourth Floor Spencer Educational Empowerment Center will allow
Miami Lighthouse to educate more blind and visually impaired youth.
According to CEO Jacko this expansion will help meet the demand of a
fourteen-fold increase since 2006; now serving 9,500 program participants
For more information call Cameron Sisser, 786-362-7515 or visit
Miami Lighthouse held its sixth annual Share the Vision luncheon at La
Gorce Country Club on October 6. At this year's 2010 Share the Vision
luncheon, the Educational Empowerment Challenge was
announced, a $500,000 matching incentive to expand educational
opportunities for our visually impaired students, our professional staff
and for internships. This match will also be used to expand our year-round
programming for children focusing on Braille and technology literacy and
pre-Braille literacy training for our blind babies and their caregivers.
Owen S. Freed, Esq., Chairman of the Board, and Virginia Jacko, Miami
Lighthouse President and CEO, presented a beautiful crystal lighthouse to
Louis Nostro, Esq., Miami Lighthouse Board Director, and Joseph D. Bolton,
Managing Partner, Shutts & Bowen, to honor the law firm for 80 years of
dedication and pro bono service to Miami Lighthouse. In 1935, Colonel
Shutts of the Miami Herald asked his young lawyer associate Preston
Prevatt to provide pro bono service to incorporate Miami Lighthouse, a
newly formed private agency serving the blind of Miami. Since then, Shutts
& Bowen has supported Miami Lighthouse through legal services and generous
Guests were treated to the musical talents of students who participate in
our nationally recognized music inclusion program as they entered the
venue. Miami Lighthouse summer camp children Jayden Ferrell and Silvio
Plata, delighted the crowd with “Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy
Spider,” while Joseph Chica gave a moving invocation.
More than 200 of South Florida’s philanthropists and community leaders
attended this extraordinary luncheon, generously underwritten by Bessemer
Trust. Guests enjoyed wine provided by Gulf Wine Merchants and beautiful
hand-made ceramic centerpieces created by Miami Lighthouse blind and
visually impaired adults in the Social Group Activities program.
Miami Lighthouse Board Director Ramón Casas challenged attendees to
imagine what vision impairment is like, and spoke about the importance of
the matching grant challenge. He praised the Educational
Empowerment Challenge as an example of true philanthropy and pointed out
the power of a matching gift, encouraging guests to participate in the
Miami Lighthouse has received its third consecutive 4-star rating, the
highest rating possible, from Charity Navigator in recognition of its
ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances.
The notification letter states: “Only 13% of the charities rated by
Charity Navigator have received at least 3 consecutive 4-star evaluations,
indicating that Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and
outperforms most other charities in America."
To view the full press release and the award letter from Charity Navigator
2009 MLB Receives One Million
Dollar Matching Gift Challenge, Made in Memory of Sash A. Spencer
Miami Lighthouse is
pleased to announce a way for new and existing donors to double the impact
of their charitable giving: the One Million Dollar Challenge in Memory
of Sash A. Spencer. Through this challenge all new donations or gifts
of an increased amount from existing donors between $100 and $150,000 will
be generously matched by Mary Spencer.
2008 Miami Lighthouse Hosts 4th
Annual “Share the Vision” Luncheon
Over 250 of South
Florida’s most generous philanthropists and community leaders were on hand
to watch Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired accept the
first $250,000 installment of the “One Million Dollar Challenge in
Memory of Sash A. Spencer,” an incentive matching gift from
philanthropist Mary M. Spencer at the 4th Annual “Share the Vision”
fundraising luncheon November 12 at La Gorce Country Club. Thanks to the
generosity of Mrs. Spencer, all new donations or gifts of an increased
amount from current or past donors between $100 and $150,000 will be
matched in the memory of her beloved husband, Sash A. Spencer.
luncheon, generously underwritten by Bessemer Trust, raised $350,000 for
programs and services offered to blind and visually impaired children and
adults. Guests enjoyed wine from The River Wines and beautiful table
centerpieces designed by Epicure Events which incorporated hand-made
ceramic pieces created by Miami Lighthouse blind and visually impaired
children and adults.