Dining in the Dark Dinner Opens Guests’ Eyes to Challenges of the Visually Impaired, Benefits Sight-Saving Research

January 11, 2017

The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit focused on finding preventions, treatments and cures for retinal diseases, will present its Visionary Award to Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals and R. Michael Lowenbaum, partner – Lowenbaum Law at its 8th Annual St. Louis Dining in the Dark Visionary Awards Dinner on Friday, January 20, 2017.

The unique fundraiser will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Dinner guests will be encouraged to eat their main course while blindfolded to experience vision loss first hand. The evening’s proceeds will support research into gene, stem cell and pharmaceutical-based therapies for blinding retinal degenerative diseases, including macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, which affect more than 10 million Americans.

Matt Carpenter is an award-winning infielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. He won the MLB Players Alumni Association “Heart & Hustle” Award three consecutive years (2013-15) for his passion, desire and hard work on and off the field. Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter finished the 2016 regular season with a .271 average, 21 home runs, 68 RBIs and 81 runs scored.He has earned All-Star recognition at second and third base, and will open the 2017 season at first base for the Cardinals.

Carpenter’s commitment to the Foundation’s mission grows from his college playing experience. His college coach at TCU, Jim Schlossnagle and his wife, Kami, have two children with Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), one of the most severe and earliest onset retinal degenerative diseases. 

R. Michael Lowenbaum is founder and co-managing partner of Lowenbaum Law, recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top employment and labor law firms serving management. Lowenbaum says collaboration is the key to success – whether it’s his legal team serving the firm's clients or raising money for the many St. Louis philanthropies he and his wife, Lecie, support.

“After having two significant retinal surgeries last year, I learned firsthand that the ability to see cannot be taken for granted. For that reason I’m committed to supporting FFB in funding critical sight-saving research,” said Lowenbaum.

“Now in its 8th year in St. Louis, Dining in the Dark has introduced thousands of people to the tremendous work of the Foundation Fighting Blindness,” said Dinner Co-Chair Jason Morris, Chief Administrative Officer, TKC Holdings, Inc. and FFB National Trustee.  “The unique perspective attendee’s gain from dining without the benefit of sight is very impactful and leaves a lasting impression of the importance of the FFB’s mission.” 

Also serving as Dinner Co-Chair is John Mozeliak, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals and FFB National Trustee.

Since its inception in 1971, the Foundation Fighting Blindness has raised over $700 million to support vision-saving research. On an annual average, over 70 percent of all money donated to FFB goes to direct support for research and public health education.

Sponsor opportunities are available and range from $2,500 to $50,000. Individual tickets are available at $250. For ticket and sponsorship information contact Rachel Martin at RMartin@FightBlindness.org or 847 680-0100 or visit FightBlindness.org/StLouisDiningintheDark.