Foundation Fighting Blindness Presents Board of Directors Award To Penn Vet Researchers Targeting Vision-Saving Treatments And Cures

Foundation Fighting Blindness Boston Dining in the Dark Opens Eyes to the Challenges of the Visually Impaired to Benefit Sight-Saving Research
Fidelity Investing Legend Peter Lynch to Receive Visionary Award April 9

Boston, Mass. (March 6, 2014) — The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit committed to advancing sight-saving research, will present its Visionary Award to Peter Lynch, vice chairman of Fidelity Management + Research, and co-founder with his wife, Carolyn, of the Lynch Foundation, at the 3rd Annual Boston Dining in the Dark. The event, taking place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston, gives guests a unique glimpse into the lives of the visually impaired. It also benefits the Foundation’s research into preventions, treatments and cures for blinding retinal degenerative diseases like macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome that affect more than 10 million Americans.

Dining in the Dark is a distinctive sensory awareness experience where guests participate in an unforgettable dining adventure, in complete darkness. To get first-hand insight into the challenges of the blind community, diners wear special light-blocking masks and eat their entrée using only their heightened senses of smell, sound, taste and touch. Created in Germany, Dining in the Dark is a one-of-a kind concept that has been enjoyed by many people across Europe before moving to America in 2005.

“Since the early 1970s, we’ve pumped nearly $27 million into cutting-edge, retinal disease research here in Boston that has helped move the needle toward treatments and cures,” says Foundation Fighting Blindness Chairman and Co-Founder Gordon Gund, who lost his vision decades ago to retinitis pigmentosa. “It’s truly a unique hub of scientific innovation and collaboration, in the vision space and beyond. We’re excited to unite with many local leaders at Dining in the Dark to help continue that momentum and recognize Peter Lynch’s extraordinary professional and philanthropic accomplishments.”

Over the past few years, the field of retinal degenerative research has entered into an exciting era of clinical trials, thanks to more than four decades of Foundation Fighting Blindness investment in promising early work. Gene therapy is restoring vision in children and young adults, devices such as the ‘bionic retina’ are becoming available to patients, drugs with vision-saving potential are being tested in human studies, and stem cells are being translated into retinal cells.
Visionary Award Honoree Peter Lynch, of Marblehead, began his investment career at Fidelity as an intern in 1966. From there, he became an investment analyst, the firm’s director of research, and manager of the mutual fund that went on to have the best 20-year return ever in history. He has written three books on investing and now focuses time on mentoring new analysts at Fidelity. He and his wife, Carolyn, created the Lynch Foundation in 1988, which supports programs based on education, cultural and historical preservation, healthcare and medical research. Their giving philosophy centers on creating a stronger connection through partnerships, and investing in organizations that can truly make a difference.

Serving as dinner co-chairs are George McCabe, managing director and chief investment officer of Portolan Capital Management, and Warren Thaler, president of Gund Investment Corporation. Dinner committee members include Ben Auspitz, partner at Fidelity Biosciences; Josh Boger, executive chairman at Alkeus Pharmaceuticals; Dan Bricklin, president of Software Garden, Inc.; Mitch Brigell, Ph.D., director of clinical research, ophthalmology at Aerpio Therapeutics; Katie and Paul Buttenwieser, founders of the Family to Family Project; Randy Cohen, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management; Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld, CEO and president of Cabot Properties; Michelle Dipp, CEO and co-founder of OvaScience; Corinne and Wyc Grousbeck, CEO, governor and co-owner of the Boston Celtics; David Guyer, M.D., partner at SV Life Sciences; Ann and Graham Gund, president of Gund Partnership; Grant Gund, managing partner at Coppermine Capital; Zack Gund, managing partner at Coppermine Capital; Michael Minogue, CEO, president and chairman at ABIOMED, Inc.; Ian Schmidek, managing director at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; Carter Sednaoui; Alan Spiro, partner, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP; and Martha Steele, deputy director of the Bureau of Environmental Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Individual tickets are $1,000 and sponsor packages begin at $5,000. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Ro-Ann Rabanillo at (212) 244-1470 or To request media credentials for Dining in the Dark, or to schedule an interview with an event spokesperson, contact Allie Gebhardt at (410) 423-0643 or


3rd Annual Boston Dining in the Dark Visionary Award Dinner,
benefitting the Foundation Fighting Blindness


Four Seasons Hotel Boston
200 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116


Wednesday, April 9, 2014 6:30 p.m.
Cocktail Reception 7:30 p.m.
Award Presentation and Dining in the Dark

About Foundation Fighting Blindness

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national non-profit organization driving the 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 nearly $550 million as the leading non-governmental funder of inherited 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 additional clinical trials to treat a variety of retinal degenerative diseases. With a coveted four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the Foundation also has nearly 50 chapters that provide support, information and resources to affected individuals and their families in communities across the country.
Original Date: 
Thursday, March 6, 2014