“It’s not always the case that causes and organizations that we champion and support carry a direct affect in our own lives, but this honor does carry a special meaning.”
That was Deirdre Quinn, founder and chief executive officer of the Lafayette 148 brand, after she received the Visionary Award from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, at a benefit for the organization at The Plaza in Manhattan on Tuesday evening. Richard Richman, the chairman and founder of The Richman Group, considered the seventh largest apartment complex owner in the U.S., also received the foundation’s Visionary Award.
“I have an uncle who is blind,” Quinn told the crowd of 260, who raised roughly $425,000 for the foundation. “I visit him frequently. We sit at the window and I ask him, ‘Can you see the trees?’ And he tells me he can see the shadows.
“It’s just incredible to think about how difficult it is for people with blindness. It’s such an honor to be here and such an honor to be part of a wonderful organization.”
“Twenty years ago, Deirdre had a dream — to create a vertically integrated fashion company that would cater to the lifestyle needs of professional women — real women with real bodies that wanted to look good so that they would feel good and ultimately do good,” said Jill Granoff, who presented Quinn her award. “Last year, the company generated $160 million in sales and continues to grow across all of its channels of distribution — not something many people in fashion can say today. The company’s success is in many ways due to Deirdre’s visionary leadership, down-to-earth management style and obsession for providing outstanding customer service. She fosters deep relationships with her team and retail partners, and breeds exceptional loyalty. She is also passionate about giving back.”
The Foundation Fighting Blindness funds research aimed at preventing, treating and curing blindness caused by inherited retinal diseases. According to the foundation, inherited retinal diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration, affect more than 10 million Americans, and millions more worldwide. The foundation was established in 1971 and has since raised more than $700 million.
“The research on cures for blindness caused by inherited retinal diseases is making tremendous progress. With the help of people attending this year’s ball we can move this research even closer to the finish line,” said Evan Mittman, former ceo of the Cipriani fashion accessories company, member of the foundation and event chair.