The Lighthouse of Broward’s 50th Anniversary Dining in the Dark Celebration presented by the Josephine S. Leiser Foundation attracted 250 guests and raised $220K in support of Lighthouse of Broward, which provides free resources to enhance the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired in Broward County. Chaired by volunteers Von Freeman, Carmen Miller and Marianne Finizio, the event was emceed by LITE FM 101.5 morning show hosts Julie Guy and Tamara G., who brought both professionalism and laughter to the affair with their sparkling personalities. Dining in the Dark provided blindfolded guests with an immersive dark dining experience and a compelling sensory walk as well as all the benefits of a full-scale gala. The 50th Anniversary celebration included gourmet fare, silent auction, live auction featuring auctioneer and community leader Whitney Dutton along with his brother Jared Dutton, and entertainment from American Heritage School student orchestra and the Shane Duncan Band.
Two particularly stand-out supporters were honored during the Dining in the Dark program: The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, which has supported the Lighthouse’s Ready to Work program, which enables individuals who are blind and visually impaired to train for and land jobs; and former State Representative George Moraitis who provided extensive pro bono legal services to the Lighthouse of Broward during the complicated process of selling its existing property and purchasing a new, more centrally located headquarters. “We were so proud to celebrate 50 years of serving individuals who are blind or visually impaired at our signature Dining in the Dark event,” said Lighthouse of Broward President and CEO Ellyn Drotzer. “While our guests truly enjoyed themselves and appreciated the dark dining experience and all the accouterments of a wonderful gala event, there was a special focus on the impact of our work over this half century. We have helped approximately 200,000 people in our community find maximum independence since 1973. The Lighthouse has touched so many lives because of amazing community support, including the guests, donors and sponsors of this wonderful event.”