The Illinois Eye-Bank is a division of Midwest Eye-Banks, a 501(c)(3), independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of sight. Founded in 1947, the IEB recovers, evaluates and distributes human eye tissue for transplantation. For almost two decades, Winger has worked with the Eye-Bank on developing its public relations and marking programs. Our goals were to create positive awareness of the Eye-Bank’s role in vision restoration and promote organ donation through media publicity and community relations. One of the most significant charges was to create an annual fundraiser for the Eye-Bank. Winger is responsible for the event marketing and management of the Gift of Sight Gala, now in its 10th year.
- Winger influenced several of the Midwest’s most affluent and connected philanthropists and professionals to chair the annual Gift of Sight Gala.
- Winger facilitated the creation of a Gala committee, which was comprised of approximately 25 individuals the first year.
- An award program was established and the Gala annually honors a civic leader with Woman and/or Man of Vision Award.
- The Gala is held during National Eye Donor Awareness month in March or Donate Life in April to maximize media coverage for the event.
- In the 10 years since its inception, the Gift of Sight Gala has raised more than half a million dollars and helped over 15,000 people on their journey to restoring sight.
- The Gala has been named one of the “not-to-miss” events of the social season by Chicago Social and was selected as one of the “Top 100 Events in Chicago” by BizBash.
- Prominent social coverage is garnered each year. Media placements include CBS2 Chicago, Pioneer Press, Today’s Chicago Woman, Chicago Sun-Times and West Suburban Living.