January 24, 2019
 
National Braille Press Gala Hits a Home Run, Raising $440K

November 15, 2018 — National Braille Press, a Boston-based nonprofit publisher that promotes literacy of blind children through braille and seeks to empower blind people to engage in work, family, and community affairs, recently announced it raised $440,000 at its annual gala.

National Braille Press (NBP) said the sold out Million Laughs for Literacy gala, held Nov. 7 at Fenway Park, attracted 350 attendees and surpassed the $420,000 it aimed to raise.

The organization hailed the event as "the most successful" in the nine years it has been held, and contributing approximately 37% toward NBP’s annual fundraising goal.

Funds raised at the gala, via sponsorships, ticket sales, and live auction and silent auctions, will support promotion of braille literacy through outreach programs and the creation of accessible braille products for blind children and adults.

NBP President Brian Mac Donald said, “The outpouring of support at the gala to fund our work for the blind and visually impaired was overwhelming. Our distinguished co-chairs worked tirelessly to make the gala a success, plus having the event at Fenway Park, the home of the 2018 World Series Champions, we knew we were going to hit our own home run.”

NBP said the decision to host the event at Fenway Park, which was planned before the Red Sox were even in the playoffs, was driven by the desire to try something different from the more traditional hotel venue it used previously.

This year's gala celebrated the 15th anniversary of NBP’s ReadBooks! Because Braille Matters program, which serves more than 1,000 children every year, and honored the Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation for helping to launch the program in 2003 with a $330,000 grant.

At the gala, foundation executive director Susan Olivo announced a new $15,000 donation to the NBP for its work in providing braille materials to the blind and visually impaired.

The gala also received an unexpected $25,000 donation from SFV-LLGC President Mitch Rosen.

Sponsors included Cabinets To Go, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Fenway Sports Management, O'Neill and Associates,

The gala also featured a performance by stand-up comedian Kathleen Madigan, a veteran of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Show with David Letterman, and the Bob and Tom Show.

Founded in 1927 by Francis Ierardi, a blind Italian immigrant, NBP describes itself as “the premier braille publisher in the US specializing in producing original braille works written by blind authors expressly for blind people.”

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