Foundation Fighting Blindness To Honor Former Ambassador Tom Korologos and Former Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin Korologos at "For the Love of Sight" Benefit

Foundation Fighting Blindness To Honor Former Ambassador Tom Korologos and Former Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin Korologos at ‘For the Love of Sight’ Benefit


  • Master of Ceremonies ABC7/WJLA-TV’s Alison Starling  and special guest Mrs. World April Lufriu both know the impact of blinding diseases
  • Book signing reception with bestselling America the Beautiful author Dr. Ben Carson
  • Event supports cutting-edge research that’s already restoring sight in patients

Washington, D.C. (January 25, 2013) — The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a nonprofit dedicated to sight-saving retinal research, will honor former Ambassador Tom Korologos and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin Korologos with its Visionary Award, in recognition of the couple’s leadership in government and the business and non-profit sectors, and their ongoing support for blindness research. 

The 11th Annual D.C. “For the Love of Sight” Visionary Awards Dinner will take place on Tuesday, April 16, at 6 p.m., at the Ritz-Carlton - Downtown, Washington, D.C., to benefit research into preventions, treatments and cures for vision-robbing retinal diseases including age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, Usher syndrome and related conditions that affect more than 10 million Americans.

Raising nearly $5 million since its inception in 2003, “For the Love of Sight” was created by Mrs. Korologos and former Burson-Marsteller COO Worldwide Ken Rietz, who is affected by the blinding genetic disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Over the past decade, the critical funds raised through the event have supported groundbreaking studies helping to move the field of retinal research forward through advancements in gene, stem cell-based and pharmaceutical therapies.

“The progress in developing treatments for retinal diseases is invigorating,” says Rietz, who has lent himself to science as a clinical trial participant in an ongoing study, having a tiny device implanted in his retina that releases a vision-saving protein. “When we started ‘For the Love of Sight,’ there weren’t any human studies underway, but now there are several clinical trials taking place and many more on the horizon that offer great hope to people like me who are losing their vision.”

“I remember when Lancelot, a dog who had his sight restored thanks to gene therapy, accompanied Foundation Fighting Blindness leaders on Capitol Hill to testify in support of sight-saving research,” says Mrs. Korologos. “Fast forward a few years and researchers went on to restore significant vision in more than 40 children and young adults in clinical trials for a rare retinal disease, including a boy named Corey who put away his white cane and was able to play baseball with his friends. Now, additional gene therapy studies are happening thanks to the positive results, and other approaches are taking off. Tom and I are very motivated to continue this fight to eradicate retinal diseases because the momentum of research is so strong, and inspiring people afflicted with these conditions have influenced our lives in such positive ways.”

Serving as Master of Ceremonies will be ABC7/WJLA-TV Anchor Alison Starling, whose sister-in-law is affected with Usher syndrome, a genetic disease that robs both vision and hearing. Also in attendance will be Foundation Fighting Blindness spokeswoman Mrs. World April Lufriu, of Tampa, who has worked tirelessly during her reign to make a difference for her two children who have RP. For event sponsors, world-renowned surgeon and author Dr. Ben Carson will be on hand for a private book signing of “America the Beautiful” in the Ritz-Carlton’s stunning art gallery space.

In addition to her role as the government’s top labor official under President Ronald Reagan, Mrs. Korologos has held numerous high-profile leadership positions with non-profit organizations, presidential commissions, and corporate boards of directors over the past several decades. Also a top official in the Departments of Treasury and Interior, she was awarded the President’s Citizen Medal in recognition of her public service. A longtime lover and collector of art, she also owns the Ann Korologos Gallery in Basalt, Colorado. 

Currently a strategic advisor with DLA Piper, Tom Korologos served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium from 2004-2007. He has served with multiple White House administrations and presidential campaigns, traveled extensively overseas as a member and Chairman of the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, and co-founded the Washington consulting firm Timmons and Company.

“For the Love of Sight’s” 2013 co-chairs include former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Edilia Gutierrez; Ken Rietz and Ursula Landsrath; and Northrop Grumman Technical Services Vice President and General Manager Bill Carty and Colleen Carty. Honorary chairs include Foundation Fighting Blindness Co-Founder and Chairman Gordon Gund and fellow Co-Founder Llura Gund.

Individual tickets are $1,000 and table packages begin at $5,000. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Dina Beaumont at (202) 530-4672 or To RSVP as a member of the media, or to schedule an interview with an event spokesperson, contact Allie Gebhardt at (410) 423-0643 or


11th Annual D.C. “For the Love of Sight” Visionary Awards Dinner


The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.
1150 22nd St. NW

Washington, D.C. 20037


Tuesday, April 16, 2013
5 p.m.: Dr. Ben Carson Book Signing in the Ritz-Carlton Art Gallery (for event sponsors only)
6 p.m.: Cocktail Reception
7 p.m.: Award Presentation and Dinner

About Foundation Fighting Blindness

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national nonprofit driving research that will lead to preventions, treatments and cures for retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases that affect more than 10 million Americans. Since 1971, the Foundation has raised more than $500 million as the leading non-governmental funder of retinal research. Breakthrough Foundation-funded studies using gene therapy have restored significant vision in children and young adults who were previously blind, paving the way for using this method to treat a variety of retinal degenerative diseases, and proving a cure is in sight. With a network of nearly 50 chapters, the Foundation also provides support and resources to affected individuals and their families in communities across the country.

Original Date: 
Friday, January 25, 2013