Literacy Partners’ 2024 Gala: A Night of Celebrities and Celebrations Raises Over $1 Million for NYC Literacy Education

Star-Studded Gala Celebrates Literacy, Raises Over $1 Million for NYC Education
Viola Davis and Ethan Hawke
Viola Davis and Ethan Hawke

Literacy Partners hosted its glittering Evening of Readings & Gala Dinner at Pier Sixty, New York City, celebrating its 50th anniversary in grand style. The star-studded event, hosted by the charismatic Cynthia McFadden, was a dazzling blend of celebrity appearances, heartfelt tributes, and unwavering support for literacy. With over $1 million raised, this year's gala underscored the critical role of literacy in transforming lives, particularly among low-income and immigrant families in NYC.

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Honoring Literacy Legends and Trailblazers

The gala was a tribute to the power of words and the individuals who champion literacy. Several notable figures were honored for their exceptional contributions:

  • HarperCollins received the Literacy Leadership Award for its 200-year commitment to literary excellence and a 30-year partnership with Literacy Partners.

  • Michael Korda, esteemed author and former Simon & Schuster editor, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his profound influence on the publishing industry.

  • Deborah Roberts and Al Roker were celebrated with the Spirit of Literacy Award for their inspiring work as authors and journalists.

  • The LIZZIE Award was awarded to Elizabeth T. Peabody, honoring her dedication to literacy in memory of her close friend Liz Smith.

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Celebrating Champions of Literacy

The Champion of Literacy Award highlighted four exceptional figures whose work has significantly impacted the literary and entertainment worlds:

  • Julia Alvarez, a trailblazing Dominican-American author whose work has given a powerful voice to Latina authors.

  • Viola Davis, the Academy Award-winning actress and New York Times bestselling author, recognized for her efforts to amplify underrepresented voices through her production company, JVL Media.

  • Ethan Hawke, a multifaceted artist and best-selling novelist, honored for his contributions across acting, screenwriting, directing, and producing.

  • Anthony Tassi, Literacy Partners CEO, for his transformative leadership over the past 11 years.

An Evening of Entertainment and Philanthropy

Guests were treated to an unforgettable performance by Rare__Vintage and captivating music by JB Bontemps. The event was graced by numerous notable personalities, including Craig Melvin, Laura Jarrett, Les Hinton, Judith Carr, and Jon Yaged, who came together to support a noble cause.

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Making a Difference Through Literacy

The funds raised at the gala will directly support Literacy Partners' mission of empowering adults and creating brighter futures for their children through literacy. The organization focuses on parents of young children, using evidence-based practices and innovative partnerships to foster a two-generation impact. Their free classes, community workshops, and educational media provide parents and caregivers with essential literacy and language skills, driving success in today's world.

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A Heartfelt Thank You to Supporters

A special thanks goes to the Gala Committee, including Co-Chairs Courtney E.K. Lewis and Cynthia McFadden, and committee members Marie Brenner, Peter Brown, Jacqueline Weld Drake, Joni Evans, Katharine Raymond Hinton, Sheila Nevins, Victoria Chu Pao, Jordan Pavlin, Elizabeth T. Peabody, Perri Peltz, Lesley Stahl, Holland Taylor, and Fareed Zakaria. The event’s success was made possible by the generous support of Golden Anniversary Sponsors HarperCollins Publishers and News Corp.

Literacy Partners is dedicated to strengthening families through a two-generation approach to education. Offering free classes, community workshops, and educational media, the organization empowers low-income and immigrant parents and caregivers with the literacy and language skills necessary for success. Their programs integrate child development and parenting support to foster early reading, social-emotional growth, and school readiness in children. By breaking the cycle of poverty, improving job prospects, and closing the achievement gap, Literacy Partners creates lasting change for families and communities.

For more information about Literacy Partners and their transformative work, visit Literacy Partners.

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