On Wednesday night, Literacy Partners hosted their 29th Annual Evening of Readings and Gala Dinner Dance at the stunning and iconic Cipriani 42nd Street drawing leaders from the worlds of media, fashion, publishing and philanthopy. The inspiring evening was a huge success, raising over $1 million in critical funds to aid in Literacy Partner’s mission to end illiteracy, one adult at time. The glamorous black tie event was hosted by Gala Board Chair Alina Cho, CNN National Correspondent and Honorary Board Chair and co-founder Liz Smith.
The gala honored #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell, and writer and director Tatiana von Fürstenberg for their devoted work in education and philanthropy. In honor of her many dedicated years to Literacy Partners’ mission, Jacqueline Weld Drake received the venerated Lizzie Award. The Lizzie Award is given to an individual who exemplifies Liz Smith’s passion for the written word and her commitment to improving the lives of those who cannot read or write. The evening also included engaging readings from Pulitzer-prize winning authors Jon Meacham and Elizabeth Strout, and TV host, author, and historian Bill O’Reilly. The esteemed panel was joined by Yvonne Hoyt, a Literacy Partners student, as she shared her powerful story of overcoming adversity and learning to read. Yvonne, a 63 year-old woman, who started with Literacy Partners in 2009, recounted her moving story of determination and dedication to the program, throughout her diagnosis with diabetes and other health struggles. There was not a dry eye in the house following Yvonne’s touching words.
Literacy Partners has provided critical literacy services to over 25,000 New York City adults and their families since its inception almost 40 years ago. Adult learners are enrolled in reading and writing classes that are complemented by financial, health and digital literacy workshops. With more than two million adult New Yorkers still struggling to read and write English at the 8th grade level, there is much work left to be done with Literacy Partners leading the way. Literacy Partners believes that the ability to read is an essential element of an enriched and fulfilling life. The organization provides high-quality, community-based literacy programs in that empower adults to reach their full potential as individuals, parents, and citizens.
Just some of the notable attendees at Wednesday night’s Gala who came out to support Literacy Partner’s essential mission included, Alina Cho, Liz Smith, Diane von Fürstenberg and Barry Diller, Alex von Fürstenberg, Tatiana von Fürstenberg, Jacqueline Weld Drake, Patricia Cornwell, Bill O’Reilly, Jonathan Meacham, Elizabeth Strout, Steve and Christine Schwarzman, Billie Jean King, Mauro Maccioni, Markus Dohle, Chairman & CEO of Random House, Gina Centrello, President & Publisher of Random House, Madeline McIntosh, COO of Random House, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Jeffrey Sharp, Sally Richardson, President and Publisher of St. Martin’s Press, John Josephson and Carolina Zapf, Yanna Avis, Sheila Nevins, Mark Gilbertson, Gigi Stone Woods, Bibhu Mohapatra, Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky, and many more.