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May 5, 2014 - Press Release
Honoring International Economist and Humanitarian Tom Arnold at the 2014 Spirit of Helen Keller Gala

2014 Spirit of Helen Keller Gala

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Honoring International Economist and Humanitarian Tom Arnold

Oscar-Nominated Actress Abigail Breslin to Serve as Honorary Junior Chair

New York, NY – May 5, 2014Helen Keller International, one of the oldest global nonprofit organizations devoted to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition, is pleased to announce international economist and humanitarian Tom Arnold as the recipient of the 2014 Helen Keller Humanitarian Award.  Mr. Arnold will be present to accept the award at The Spirit of Helen Keller Gala on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at 583 Park Avenue in New York City.  Oscar-nominated actress Abigail Breslin will also be attending as Honorary Junior Chair.

Inspired by the spirit and determination of its founder, The Spirit of Helen Keller Gala is a much anticipated annual celebration honoring those who have joined with Helen Keller International in furthering its sight and lifesaving mission.

Mr. Arnold will be honored in recognition of his extraordinary dedication to ending child hunger and improving maternal health in the developing world. His achievements in this area include his successful tenure as CEO of Concern Worldwide, Ireland’s leading humanitarian organization, from 2001-2013. He has also served on a number of high-level bodies including the UN Millennium Project’s Hunger Task Force, the Irish Hunger Task Force, the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund’s Advisory Group, and the European Food Security Group. In 2012 he was appointed by Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Convention on the Irish Constitution; Director General of the Institute of European and International Affairs; as well as Chairperson of the Irish Times Trust and a Director of the Irish Times, Ireland’s leading newspaper.  

“For decades, Tom Arnold has been an incredible force, generous partner and a wonderful inspiration in the fight against hunger,” said Kathy Spahn, Helen Keller International’s President and CEO.  “Hunger continues to be one of the world’s most pervasive challenges, impacting the life expectancy of innocent women and children, as well as the potential for growth and prosperity of entire nations. We are truly honored and delighted to be able to celebrate the invaluable contributions Tom has made in keeping the global spotlight on this issue and joining Helen Keller International in building sustainable solutions that will lead us to a stronger, healthier world.”

This year’s gala will also feature actress Abigail Breslin, who will serve as Honorary Junior Chair. In 2010, Breslin starred as Helen Keller in the first Broadway revival of "The Miracle Worker."  Ms. Breslin will share her experience of playing a young Helen Keller. Breslin has said publicly that she was deeply honored to play Keller, who is one of her "biggest heroes." 

Jennifer A. Buda, Beverly Miller Orthwein, and Desmond G. FitzGerald will serve as Gala Co-Chairs.

Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International’s mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition. Visit for more information.

2014 Spirit of Helen Keller Gala

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What- 2014 Spirit of Helen Keller Gala honoring: 

Tom Arnold, Internationally renowned economist and humanitarian, Chairman of the Convention on the Irish Constitution, and former CEO of Concern Worldwide

Jennifer A. Buda, Beverly Miller Orthwein, and Desmond G. Fitzgerald, Gala Co-Chairs;(Henry Barkhorn, Chair, Helen Keller International Board of Trustees)

Abigail Breslin, Actress, Honorary Junior Chair 

When- Tuesday, May 20, 2014

           Arrivals and Cocktail Reception – 6 PM

           Dinner, Awards and Live Auction – 7:30 PM

Where- 583 Park Avenue, at the corner of 63rd Street, New York, NY 

TICKETS- Individual tickets: $1,000 (Silver Level) or $2,500 (Gold Level). Tables: $8,000 (Bronze Level), $12,000 (Silver Level), $25,000 (Gold Level) and $50,000 (Platinum Level). For more information, please contact Meghan Walsh at or 646-472-0350, or visit

Media Contact:

Heather Mangrum

Director, Communications

Helen Keller International


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