Miami Lighthouse CEO Virginia Jacko Receives Concern Award from Health Foundation of South Florida
CEO Virginia Jacko received the prestigious 2008 Concern Award recently from Health Foundation of South Florida. The award includes a $25,000 grant to the charity of the recipient’s choice; naturally CEO Jacko’s choice is Miami Lighthouse. She was nominated for the Concern Award by Arthur H. Hertz, CEO of Wometco Enterprises and Miami Seaquarium.
This year, both Concern Award winners lead organizations that help people who share their own disability. CEO Jacko lost her eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa; the other award recipient, Pedro Rodriguez, founded Spinal Cord Living-Assistance Development after his own spinal cord injury.
''I know about a lot of awards programs,'' said Steven Marcus, CEO of the Health Foundation. “I think this is the only one in the United States where the award winners head up organizations that offer services to people who share their disability.'' More than 300 community leaders were present at the awards luncheon in December.
“I am humbled by this recognition by Health Foundation of South Florida,” CEO Jacko said, “and grateful to Arthur Hertz for nominating me, and so happy to be able to share this award with Miami Lighthouse. Every bit of assistance we receive helps us transform lives, just as my life was transformed by Miami Lighthouse.”
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.
This year’s 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.
6th Annual Women’s Power Caucus Award
She went from being one of the IN FOCUS Magazine WOMEN OF DISTINCTION to becoming one of the WOMEN OF THE YEAR. Virginia Jacko was selected as the 2008 Quiet Storm Achiever Award recipient in the category of Not-For-Profit at the 2008 Women’s Power Caucus on Saturday, August 9th.
To read the IN FOCUS web article announcing the award,
please go to the following link:
Miami Lighthouse Receives 2008 Healthy Vision Award From The National Eye Institute
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is one of fifty institutions in the U.S. to receive the 2008 Healthy Vision Community Award from the National Eye Institute (NEI). The award recognizes the achievements of Miami Lighthouse in the field of providing essential vision care to school-age children, and includes a check for $10,000 that will support ongoing efforts to ensure that children in Miami-Dade County receive complete vision care. NEI, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is a government agency established by Congress in 1968 to protect and prolong the vision of the American people.
The award, which will support the efforts of the Heiken Children’s Vision Program at Miami Lighthouse, is earmarked for research and public outreach that helps prevent and treat visual impairment in children. Miami Lighthouse will make presentations to Miami-Dade County School staff, parents, parent-teacher associations (PTA) and community referral agencies to raise awareness of the Children’s Vision Program. New program literature in English, Spanish and Creole will inform teachers and parents about the importance of early vision care to education, and encourage participation in the Children’s Vision Program.
“We are delighted to be working with NEI,” said Miami Lighthouse CEO Virginia A. Jacko. “The aims of the Healthy Vision initiative are a perfect fit with the goals of Miami Lighthouse and its Children’s Vision Program, as we expand our mission to include eye health and education.”
Miami Lighthouse acquired the Heiken Children’s Vision Program in July 2007. Through a cooperative agreement with Miami-Dade County Schools, the mobile optometric unit has provided free vision care and eyeglasses to thousands of economically disadvantaged schoolchildren who failed state-mandated vision screenings. According to CEO Virginia Jacko, a second optometric unit is being mobilized to expand free eye care service to more financially disadvantaged children in both Dade and Monroe Counties.
The Heiken Advisory Committee was established by the Miami Lighthouse President and CEO to maintain relationships with community groups such as Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Health Connect Teams, foundations that have supported the Heiken Program, the optometric community and pediatric ophthalmologists. These stakeholders have provided expertise and support to ensure its continuing success.
The Dade County Optometric Association established the Heiken Children’s Vision Fund in 1992. “The merging of nonprofits to make better use of resources is an emerging trend,” said Dr. Steven Marcus, President of the Health Foundation of South Florida. “By consolidating Heiken with Miami Lighthouse, a larger agency with similar interests, all of the resources for overhead can go directly to client service.”
Actor Woody Harrelson Prepares for Blind Pianist Role
Woody Harrelson, who will play a blind pianist in the upcoming film Seven Pounds, found the perfect place to practice his “blindness” skills at Miami Lighthouse. Harrelson’s character befriends the main character, played by Will Smith, a guilt ridden and suicidal IRS agent. “I was more nervous about this role than about any I’ve ever had,” Harrelson said. The challenges of playing a blind musician are daunting, but Miami Lighthouse, with its vision rehabilitation services and groundbreaking music program, was an excellent fit for Harrelson as he prepared. He practiced the use of the white cane with Orientation & Mobility Specialist John Clapp, COMS, and observed blind keyboard artists practicing in the Henry & Inez Stone Music & Sound Studio. Harrelson, who entered the American consciousness as the affably dim Woody Boyd on the long-running TV series Cheers, has appeared in many major feature films, including Indecent Proposal, Play it to the Bone and The People vs Larry Flynt. Seven Pounds is scheduled to open in theaters in December.
White Cane Safety Day 2008
Board Member John Harriman, President & CEO Virginia A. Jacko and John
Clapp led the White Cane Safety Day Walk-a-Thon October 15. White Cane
Safety Day, a national observance, educates the public on blindness issues
and the White Cane Law, which protects blind and visually impaired
pedestrians. This year’s keynote speaker was Danelle D'Aquanni Umstead, a
visually impaired female athlete currently training to compete as an
alpine ski racer in the 2010 Paralympics.
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Ophthalmologists Visit
Over 40 Ophthalmologists from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute gathered for an informative evening at Miami Lighthouse on August 20th. Moving testimonials were given by Lighthouse clients. Harry Epstein offered a thank you to these doctors for “saving his life” and the Miami Lighthouse for giving him a “new life” as an advocate for the blind and visually impaired. Latrissa Logan, mother of Ty’quan Logan currently enrolled in the Blind Babies Program also thanked both institutions for their dedication and commitment in helping mothers like herself cope with a blind baby and the many surgeries which are leading toward a very positive outcome. Guests received personalized tours of the modern 37,000 square foot facility and our variety of programs. The event was hosted by Eduardo C. Alfonso, Professor & Interim Chairman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO of the Lighthouse.
Miami Lighthouse Men of Vision Honor Legendary Music Producer Henry Stone
More than 50 friends of Miami Lighthouse gathered on August 5th to celebrate the Inaugural Men of Vision “Havana Nights,” hosted by Al Cabrera, Scott Sime, Eric M. Stein, and David Turner. Guests enjoyed live music as well as vintage and new cars featuring a placard noting historical milestones of Miami Lighthouse coinciding with the model year of each car. In keeping with the “Havana Nights” theme, a live cigar roller demonstrated his craft. Legendary music producer and former Miami Lighthouse client, Henry Stone, was named the 2008 “Man of Vision.” Henry has been fundamental in the creation and success of the nationally recognized music program at the Lighthouse. The event was sponsored by SunTrust Bank South Florida, Turner & Associates, LLP, CB Richard Ellis and Williamson Cadillac.
Northern Trust Bank Visits Miami Lighthouse
On July 3, 2008 Board Directors Ed Joyce and Kent Benedict along with colleagues from Northern Trust Bank visited Miami Lighthouse where they joined Lighthouse clients in the Gallery for lunch and were entertained by summer camp student musicians and instructors. The group toured the facility and learned about the many programs and services offered by Miami Lighthouse to blind and visually impaired children and adults.
Miami Lighthouse Awarded Four New Grants
Four important new grants awarded recently to Miami Lighthouse will significantly advance our mission of providing the best in vision rehabilitation and eye health services.
Allegany Franciscan Ministries awarded a capacity building grant for the development of Miami Lighthouse Center of Excellence initiatives, and the pursuit of a new social enterprise aimed at helping more people affected by vision impairment.
The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation has awarded a grant to Miami Lighthouse for the Heiken Children’s Vision Program to expand free eye care to low-income schoolchildren who fail state-mandated vision screenings. The Florida Optometric Association through its FOA Charities announced a grant, also to the Heiken Children’s Vision Program, to fund a medical director position and community education outreach to parents regarding the importance of early detection of vision problems in children.
The Children's Trust has provided funding for a year-round teenage inclusion music project, in which sighted and blind and visually impaired kids make great music together.
“These funders have our deepest gratitude and our firm
commitment to achieving our goals. They deserve a return on their
investment, and we are committed to achieving the outcomes proposed in our
funding requests,” said CEO Virginia Jacko.
Bear Hugs Foundation Grant Supports STAR Program
Miami Lighthouse has been awarded a grant from the
Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation through their literacy grant
program. The grant will enhance the 2008 Miami Lighthouse Summer Training
and Recreation (STAR) Program, enabling the purchase of art supplies and
musical instruments for use by legally blind children between ages 5 and
13. Musical instruments, such as bongos and bells, will enhance the
children’s coordination and rhythm while the art supplies, such as beads,
yarn and textured paper will help the children to enhance their fine and
gross motor skills as well as encourage creativity.
Miami Lighthouse Women of Vision Honor
More than 50 of Miami’s most prominent female philanthropists gathered at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired June 24 at the second annual Women of Vision luncheon. The inspiring event included the presentation of the 2008 Woman of Vision Award to Jean Ellen duPont Shehan; the completion of Gloria Martin’s $1.1 million gift to Miami Lighthouse; news from CEO Virginia A. Jacko about new initiatives at Miami Lighthouse; a touching testimonial from Helen Mopsick, whose 6-month-old son Colton participates in the Miami Lighthouse Blind Babies program; and original music performed by the Miami Lighthouse musicians. Norma Jean Abraham, Shelley Beckwith Rutherford, Jan Salvesen Morrison and Norma Quintero hosted the event.
April 8, 2008 – Virginia A. Jacko, President and CEO of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, has received the AXA Advisors 2008 Business Woman of the Year Award in the Public Service/Non-Profit Award category. The Award was presented April 4th at a luncheon hosted by AXA and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Jacko was a successful executive when she began to lose her sight to retinitis pigmentosa and came to Miami Lighthouse for vision rehabilitation. Now totally blind, as CEO she is leading Miami Lighthouse into a new era of growth and expanded client services. The institution recently received its first four-star ranking, the highest level from Charity Navigator, the independent evaluator of not-for-profits.
“I feel so blessed to know my passion," CEO Jacko exclaimed. "As Helen Keller said, 'Through blindness, I found myself, my work and my God.'"
"Despite her blindness, she has a vision for the future of vision enhancement and rehabilitation in our community that will improve the lives of thousands of impaired people." said Chairman William R. Roy, Ph.D.
She was nominated for the award by Miami
Lighthouse Honorary Board Member Don Marx and Pat Morgan of Smooth Sailing
Executive and Life Coaching. The AXA Advisors Awards, which are sponsored
by AXA Financial Protection, were established to honor outstanding
professional businesswomen in Miami-Dade County.
Miami Lighthouse Hosts “Music Under the Stars: A Taste of Brickell” Event
On April 30, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind hosted Music Under the Stars: A Taste of Brickell. This inaugural event, held at the Lighthouse, benefited its Children’s Vision Care Program, a mobile outreach program that provides free eye care services to school children in need.
Friends and donors were treated to culinary delights prepared by Brickell area restaurants including Morton’s the Steakhouse, Blu Pizza é Cucina, Perricone’s Marketplace, Gordon Biersch, Rosinella, Baja Fresh and Provence Grill. Musical entertainment was provided by Latin Tenor Warren Tesh, international violinist Randolph Margitza, and the talented Miami Lighthouse musicians.
To top the night off, legendary music producer Henry Stone presented CEO Virginia Jacko with the first royalty check from sales of “Instrumental Magic,” the first album produced by Stone since completing vision rehabilitation at Miami Lighthouse, and featuring saxophonist Jeff Zavac, a current client at the Lighthouse.
The event was sponsored by Ambutech, Eschenbach Optik, Florida Reading & Vision Technology, Mobile Specialty Vehicles, Southern Wine & Spirits, and AMC Liaisons/Rain Vodka.
Miami Lighthouse Hosts First Annual “Dog A Thon”
On March 30th, friends gathered at the new Shops at Midtown Miami to take part in the first annual Dog A Thon benefiting Miami Lighthouse. Event sponsors included PetSmart, Ameriprise Financial, The Shops at Midtown Miami, Romero Britto, Dunkin Donuts, and Multivision Video & Film.
2008 McCrea Volunteer Recognition Luncheon
On March 10th, Miami Lighthouse Volunteers of the Year, Shutts & Bowen LLP and the Lou Nostro Family, were honored at the 2008 McCrea Volunteer Recognition Luncheon.