Skip to content

New York, NY — March 29, 2016 Helen Keller International, a leading global nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting the causes and consequences of preventable blindness and malnutrition, celebrates a year of transformation with the 2016 Spirit of Helen Keller Gala on Monday, May 2, 2016.

As part of the celebration, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, will be honored with the 2016 Spirit of Helen Keller Award for his tireless focus on protecting the most vulnerable, empowering women and sustainably achieving development and change. Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He will be present to accept the award at the gala, which takes place at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.

In addition, Desmond FitzGerald will be honored with the 2016 Helen Keller Humanitarian Award in recognition of his support for Helen Keller International’s new Leverage Fund, a catalyst to unlock significant funds which will enable us to save the sight and lives of more people—and provide hope and opportunity for better life. FitzGerald is currently a senior principal of Holyoke Partners, a fund of hedge funds. He is President of the Hope for Poor Children Foundation, and has served as a trustee for a number of other philanthropies, joining the HKI Board of Trustees in 2009.

“As Helen Keller International embarks on our second century, we are delighted to be recognizing two incredible people whose wisdom and generosity of spirit have made an immeasurable contribution to global health and well-being,” said President and CEO Kathy Spahn. “We salute Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his tireless focus on protecting the most vulnerable and leading the way to the new Sustainable Development Goals, and Desmond FitzGerald for his unstinting generosity and his vision to assure HKI’s ongoing work to save the sight and lives of so many more of the world’s vulnerable. Both of these men are exceptional partners in improving health for everyone, and providing hope and opportunity.”

Inspired by the spirit and determination of our namesake and co-founder, Helen Keller International (HKI) is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and improving the sight and lives of the world’s vulnerable. HKI was established in 1915 with the founding belief that the disadvantaged among us deserve to live to their fullest potential. Today, HKI combats the causes and consequences of blindness, poor health, and malnutrition through holistic programs that are built on scientific knowledge and designed to deliver life-saving, life-changing results long beyond our involvement. Headquartered in New York City, HKI works in 21 countries in Africa and Asia, as well as here in the United States, reaching millions of men, women, and children each year.