May 18, 2018
Room to Read, a global non-profit that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children®, held its annual New York Gala last night at SECOND with honorees Samantha Barry, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour, and Jamie Forese, President of Citigroup. Grammy Award winner Ashanti was in attendance as well as performed. The evening brought New York’s elite business and philanthropic communities together with the media industry to raise $3 million, which will support 60,000 children on Room to Read’s programs in literacy and girls’ education, it was announced last night by Dr. Geetha Murali, Room to Read’s CEO. The emcee for the evening was Sara Eisen, CNBC anchor, and event chairs were Scott Kapnick, Sabine and Richard Chalmers, and Marc Seidner. Other notable guests included Dilshad Vadsaria, actress and Room to Read ambassador, and Kimberly Vandenberg, Olympic medalist and Room to Read ambassador.
Barry, on behalf of Glamour and The Girl Project, was presented with the Superhero Award for Glamour’s commitment to world change through empowering women and girls. Glamour’s philanthropic initiative, The Girl Project, aims to unleash the vast economic and social power of girls through education. Through a $200,000 grant from The Caterpillar Foundation, The Girl Project is supporting Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program in Tanzania. Barry joined Glamour in January 2018 to oversee all content development, production and consumer experiences for Glamour’s digital, social, video and print platforms.
"I am so honored to receive the Superhero Award and to have the opportunity to continue Glamour's legacy of enabling progress via the education of young women," said Barry. "Our mission aligns with Room to Read's efforts to promote change, and it is truly a privilege to be working alongside them in helping to educate youth and create a better world."
Forese, on behalf of Citi, was presented with the Champion Award for Citi’s transformational impact on literacy and girls’ education. Citi’s e for Education campaign, a global initiative which has raised over $22 million for education-focused non-profits, has invested $3.1 million in Room to Read’s programs since 2013. Forese is President of Citigroup and Chief Executive Officer of the Institutional Clients Group.
“We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Room to Read," said Forese. "Together, we share in the goal of enabling progress and helping to eliminate generational poverty. We are grateful for their tireless work and commitment in helping to ensure that children have access to quality education.”
Speakers at the event included Neema Mwita, a young woman from Tanzania who, through her personal story, demonstrated the change that is possible through education. Mwita was one of only two girls in her village primary school class, out of 100 students, who continued to secondary school. She pursued her education and obtained a university degree in law, defying barriers such as early marriage and pregnancy that exist for women in communities where Room to Read implements its programs. Mwita is now employed by Room to Read as a social mobilizer, mentoring and advocating for a cohort of girls enrolled in Room to Read's Girls' Education Program in Tanzania.
“Room to Read is changing the game for children around the world, and tonight we recognize Citi and Glamour for their meaningful and impactful contributions to further our vision of a world in which all children can pursue a quality education and reach their full potential.” said Dr. Geetha Murali, Room to Read CEO.
Red carpet photos are available here. Photos from inside the event are available here.