Earlier this week, Literacy Partners hosted their annual Evening of Readings & Gala Dinner at Pier Sixty in New York City to celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary and the power of literacy.

The special night brought supporters together to honor leaders in forging a brighter future for New York City residents and the low-income & immigrant families that the organization serves. The evening raised over $1 million to support innovative literacy education, advocacy and programming in New York City.

Hosted by former NBC News correspondent Cynthia McFadden, the evening honored recipients across multiple categories and organizations, including:

  • The Literacy Leadership Award recognizes HarperCollins’s 200-year legacy of promoting literary excellence and thanks them for bolstering our literacy initiatives. HarperCollins has also partnered with Literacy Partners for over 30 years.
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award acknowledges former Simon & Schuster Editor and author Michael Korda’s indelible mark on the publishing world and commitment to advancing literacy.
  • The Spirit of Literacy Award signifies Deborah Roberts and Al Roker's dedication to literacy, as award-winning authors and journalists, inspiring countless individuals for decades.
  • The prestigious LIZZIE Award pays tribute to Elizabeth T. Peabody, a close friend of Literacy Partners patron saint, Liz Smith, and someone who embodies Lizzie’s tireless devotion to promoting literacy.
  • The Champion of Literacy Award honored four extraordinary literary powerhouses:

Julia Alvarez, a pioneering and widely-recognized Dominican-American author whose 50-year career has amplified the voices of Latina authors.

Viola Davis, Academy Award-winning actress, producer, New York Times bestselling author, and founder of JVL Media which gives voice to underrepresented authors.

Ethan Hawke, four-time Academy Award-nominated artist and one of Hollywood’s most multi-faceted stars: actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and best-selling novelist.

Anthony Tassi, Literacy Partners CEO, whose visionary leadership over the past 11 years has profoundly impacted the organization’s mission.

Guests enjoyed a special performance by Rare__Vintage and music composed by JB Bontemps. Other notable guests included Craig Melvin, Laura Jarrett, Les Hinton, Judith Carr, Jon Yaged and others.

The funds raised during the event supports Literacy Partners’ mission of helping adults transform their lives and create a brighter future for their children through the power of literacy. Programming focuses on parents of young children with evidence-based practices and innovative partnerships to create a two-generation impact through our free classes, community workshops, and educational media.

The Gala Committee for the event included: 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. Special thanks to Golden Anniversary Sponsors HarperCollins Publishers and News Corp.

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