RIF's 50th Anniversary Black Tie Birthday Bash, DC

Scholastic Presents Reading is Fundamental's 50th Anniversary Black Tie Birthday Bash | Photo: Courtesy of RIF
Affair: Scholastic Presents Reading is Fundamental's 50th Anniversary Black Tie Birthday Bash

When: Thursday, May 5, 2016 @ 6PM

Hot Spot: Four Seasons Hotel, Washington, DC

Deets: Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization, celebrated its 50th anniversary by hosting a birthday bash gala at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. The gala was presented by long-time partner, Scholastic, Inc. Angie Goff, anchor and reporter for NBC4, served as Master of Ceremonies. Throughout the evening, tributes were given to those who have dedicated their time and unwavering support to RIF, including RIF’s 50th anniversary co-hosts, Margaret McNamara Pastor, daughter of RIF founder, Margaret McNamara; Lynda Johnson Robb, original RIF Board member and literacy advocate; and Carol B. Sisco, former RIF Board member and champion for children. In addition, RIF bestowed the 2016 Book Champion Award to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) for his leadership on behalf of RIF and legislative priorities on Capitol Hill. RIF also recognized multiple organizations, corporations and foundations which do remarkable work to empower young minds and advance childhood literacy.

“We are very excited to extend this year’s Book Champion Award to Senator Cochran,” noted Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “His dedication to and passion for ensuring all children have access to books and learning materials is outstanding and we are grateful for his support.”

“There are many advantages for children who learn at an early age to appreciate reading and books,” said Senator Cochran. “The ability to read well is fundamental to educational achievement in our youth, and we should do what we can to promote literacy.”

This year, RIF recognized literacy programs from across the country with a 50th anniversary Legacy of Literacy Award. These organizations, corporations and foundations are representative of many similar groups across the country that have supported RIF’s mission of providing books
for children in need as well as RIF’s new evidence-based program, Read for Success, which has been proven to reverse the trend of summer reading loss and improve reading proficiency among early grade-school students.

Honorees included:
- Patricia Darlene Heck, Founder, Club RIF
- Andrea Danis, Teacher, Chaparral High School/Club RIF - Robert Beard, President and CEO, UGI Utilities, Inc.
- Joseph Swope, Communications Manager, UGI Utilities, Inc.
- Nancy Sewell, City of Selma RIF Coordinator/Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
- Sandra N. Whetstone, Co-chair, Literacy-Read Across America Committee, Prince George’s County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
- Beth Black, Fraternity President, Kappa Kappa Gamma
- Carol Sanders, National Philanthropic Chairman, Kappa Kappa Gamma
- Charlie Conklin, Executive Director, AR Kids Read
- René Bryce-Laporte, Board of Directors, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation supporting the Arkansas
Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

“These program partners have been instrumental in supporting RIF’s mission, and making advancements in the field of children’s literacy,” added Ms. Rasco. “We are delighted to recognize their outstanding work and community impact with the Legacy of Literacy Award.”

During the gala last evening, Scholastic President, CEO and Board Chairman, Dick Robinson gave tribute to Scholastic’s 50-year partnership with RIF to supply books for children in need. In addition, former RIF Board Chairman, Lynda Johnson Robb closed the event by reading the delightful story, “The Wonderful Things You Will Be,” by Emily Winfield Martin. All attendees received a copy of the book, which was donated by Penguin Random House. Following the gala, Pitney Bowes hosted a dessert reception in celebration of RIF’s 50th anniversary. For a complete recap of the evening’s event and additional photos, visit www.rif.org or our Flickr account.

About RIF

Getting free, high-quality books into the hands of children in need has been RIF’s primary mission for 50 years. To date, RIF has distributed more than 412 million books to 40 million children across the country. For many of these children, their RIF books are their only books. With the generosity of everyone gathered at the 50th anniversary birthday bash, RIF can continue its work to transform lives through the power of reading.

Spotted: Kitty Kelley, Lindsay Linhares, Margy McNamara Pastor, Carol Rasco, Jack Remondi, Lynda Johnson Robb, Terri A. Sewell, Carol B. Sisco, The Honorable Thad Cochran

Hint For The Average Socialite: Anyone can attend the gala event. Tickets are $500 each and can be purchased here.

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