For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Barlak, 973-775-8350

October 9, 2023


Deborah Morrone-Colella Retiring After Nine Years With Guide Dog School

Daphne smiles while holding an 8-week-old yellow Lab puppy. White and pink flowers border green shrubs in the background behind her.

Morristown, N.J. – The Seeing Eye has named Daphne Halpern, a highly accomplished non-profit leader with more than 25 years of experience in fundraising and executive management, as its new Director of Philanthropy.

“Daphne’s delight in building positive relationships, along with finely honed partnership skills, and strategic foresight, will be assets to her work at The Seeing Eye,” said Margaret E.L. “Peggi” Howard, D.Litt., President and CEO of The Seeing Eye. “Her focus will include further acceleration of funding priorities through philanthropy, as well as the mentoring and continuing evolution of a strong team of professionals in development, public relations, and communications.”

Halpern has a multi-faceted career starting in healthcare philanthropy. She was previously Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Pratt Institute, and also served as Senior Executive Consultant for CCS, a strategic fundraising consulting firm that partners with nonprofits to advance their philanthropic mission. With CCS, she completed successful key leadership engagements with well-known institutions including Hunter College, Weill Cornell Medicine, Asia Society, IEEE Foundation, New York Philharmonic, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, among others.  

“It is an honor to be named Director of Philanthropy at this vibrant organization,” Halpern said.  “As we approach our 100th anniversary as the oldest existing guide dog school in the world, I am delighted to be a part of the evolving story of remarkable donors supporting greatly enhanced mobility and independence for our Seeing Eye® dog users, and the remarkable, specially bred and trained dogs who aid them in retaining their active lifestyles.”   

Halpern is a resident of Oceanport, New Jersey, and graduated from the University of Hartford, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication and English literature.  Halpern holds two international professional designations: Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and Fellow, Association of Healthcare Philanthropy (FAHP). 

Halpern succeeds Deborah Morrone-Colella, who has served as The Seeing Eye’s Director of Donor & Public Relations since 2014. 

“Deb’s many years of service to nonprofit organizations have earned her a well-deserved retirement,” Howard said. “Under her stewardship, The Seeing Eye’s family of supporters have enabled thousands of people to benefit from the independence, mobility, and companionship provided by Seeing Eye® dogs.”

Morrone-Colella, who divides her time between Montclair and Surf City on Long Beach Island, has been fundraising for nonprofits for more than 35 years. 

“Working for The Seeing Eye has been an honor and a privilege. I have enjoyed the many wonderful relationships that I have made during the course of my time here and I am deeply appreciative of the trust that has been placed in me, our team, and ultimately in The Seeing Eye to steward the kind and generous donations that are made every day to this extraordinary organization,” Morrone-Colella said. “I wish Daphne all the best and I know she will have as many special moments and wonderful memories as I have had in her new role at The Seeing Eye.”

Established in 1929, The Seeing Eye provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind.  Seeing Eye dog users experience greatly enhanced mobility and independence, allowing them to retain their active lifestyles despite blindness.  The Seeing eye is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts.

The Seeing Eye is a trademarked name and can only be used to describe the dogs bred and trained at the school’s facilities in Morristown, NJ.  If you would like more information on The Seeing Eye, please visit the website at, call (973) 539-4425, or email