Welcome to Literacy Partners.

If you are a member of the press interested in covering the subject of literacy, we’re here to help. We can connect you with spokespeople, stories, statistics, and analysis to help in your reporting. Please write to externalaffairs@literacypartners.org or call our communications department at 646.237.0118.

Publisher’s Weekly, July 1st, 2024
Asaf-Bar Tura Named CEO of Literacy Partners

Asaf Bar-Tura has been appointed CEO of Literacy Partners, effective July 22. Bar-Tura succeeds Anthony Tassi, who left the organization in June. Bar-Tura brings over 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership to the role, having most recently served as executive director at the San Francisco–based education nonprofit SMART. He has also held several leadership positions with organizations including The Posse Foundation, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center. See more

Antonia Bernal with her daughter, Alexa. Ms. Bernal enrolled in Literacy Partners’ English for Parents program last year.The New York Times, December 7th, 2021
Safety Nets That Sustain Community

Antonia Bernal was nervous about running errands. She was frustrated with making new friends. And she was tired of waiting 20 minutes for an interpreter to help her with doctor appointments for her daughter, Alexa. She felt very different from the confident woman she had been before moving to New York. So four years after arriving in the United States, she made a change. “Literacy Partners made me go back to the person I was in Mexico,” Ms. Bernal said. “Now I feel incredible. I feel empowered.” See more

The New York Times, October 17, 2019
Lending a Hand, in New York and Beyond

Iovanna Campanella never thought she would end up in the United States, let alone take English classes here. In 2017, Ms. Campanella enrolled Aroa in a prekindergarten program at the Malcolm X Day Care Center in nearby Corona. Literacy Partners, a nonprofit organization that helps immigrant and low-income parents expand their language skills, was offering free English classes there. The organization’s Books of Their Own Program received a grant from The Neediest Cases Fund endowment. See More

New York Social Diary, March 18, 2019
An American Story

The ingenuity of illiterate adults speaks volumes about their resourcefulness, and their daily shame. ‘What touches me,” Arnold recalled at the time, “is that they are usually very intelligent, intelligent enough to think up these excuses.” In New York City alone, there are 1.2 million adults over 21 years old who cannot read and write at the 8th grade level.  That’s 21% of the total adult population. Illiteracy is most common among older adults. However, immigrants in their 20s and 30s come to New York, fleeing impoverished areas, with minimal education in the language are candidates for Literacy Partners. See More

Medium, March 15, 2019
Literacy Partners Gala 2019

Bon mots were served hot at the Literacy Partners Gala on the evening of Wednesday, March 13th at Cipriani Wall Street. A celebrated evening of readings, cocktails and a gala dinner dance to benefit Literacy Partners mission to end illiteracy one adult at a time. Founded thirty three years ago by the late great and fabulous gossip columnist Liz Smith with her friends fashion designer Arnold Scassi and Parker Ladd to give low income and immigrant families a better life through literacy education. See More

The Daily Mail, March 14, 2019
Dinner and Dancing for a cause! Diane Sawyer, Lesley Stahl and more notable New Yorkers attend the LIteracy Partners annual fundraiser gala

Literacy Partners held their annual Evening of Readings & Gala Dinner Dance on Wednesday, March 13th at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street to raise critical funds to further its mission to end illiteracy. The star-studded event honored Lesley Stahl with the Lizzie Award, as well as Mike Steib and author Andrea Davis Pinkney. Notable attendees including Diane Sawyer, Alina Cho and Author Tayari were dressed to impress for the elegant affair. See More

Associated Press, March 14, 2019
Literacy Partners Launches “Unreadable Books” Campaign to Raise Awareness and Support for the 1 in 5 New Yorkers who are Unable to Read

Literacy Partners, NYC’s premiere education nonprofit, announced today the launch of its “Unreadable Books” campaign, a bookstore activation designed to raise awareness and support for the 1 in 5 New Yorkers who are unable to read. Now in its second year, the campaign was developed to provide book lovers with a graphic example of what life is like when reading is a struggle. See More

Forbes, March 14, 2019
Unreadable Books Campaign Redesigns Dan Brown and Angie Thomas Covers to Promote Adult Literacy 

New York-based nonprofit Literacy Partners has unveiled its 2019 Unreadable Books campaign, designed to raise awareness of adult illiteracy by displaying a dozen popular books bearing new dust jackets with the titles, author names, blurbs and all other text scrambled. In their campaign, This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite becomes Thsi Rhiac OrcskThe Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown becomes The Ad Viicn Oced, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas becomes Het Ahet U Evig and Oprah’s Book Club pick An American Marriage by Tayari Jones becomes Na Anreicam Mgeriaar. See More

The New York Post, March 19, 2018
Late Columnist Liz Smith Honored at Literacy Gala

Late columnist Liz Smith was honored at the Literacy Partners’ Evening of Readings and Gala Dinner Dance at Cipriani Wall Street. Smith was a founder of the organization, which works to end illiteracy, along with the late Parker Ladd and Arnold Scaasi. The evening was hosted by Smith’s longtime friend Cynthia McFadden and included a video tribute introduced by Holland Taylor, who called the former New York Post columnist “the most wonderful person I ever met.” See More

New York Social Diary, March 16, 2018
Leaving a Legacy

Sarah Paulson, Cynthia McFadden, Billy Norwich, Holland Taylor

This was an especially special evening because Literacy Partners was created by Liz Smith, Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd. Liz died last November 12th. Parker died two days later. Arnold had died in August 2015. They were old friends, longtime friends who loved books and knew the immense personal value of being able to read. Somewhere one or all three of them learned that there are many people in this country — adults, that is — who cannot read and are most often too embarrassed to even admit to anyone.  The trio of Liz, Arnold and Parker raised more than $38 million over the last twenty-odd years to remedy the problem. Heroes, all. See More

DuJour, March 15, 2018
Sarah Paulson, Lesley Stahl Fete Literacy Partners

From Taylor Swift to David Bowie, most are on the same page when it comes to the importance of reading. But the struggles of 2 million New York City adults below an 8th-grade reading level are another story. Hence Literacy Partners’ annual gala, which raises awareness and funds for the education nonprofit’s mission to end adult illiteracy one pupil at a time. And while endorsing reading is a classic celebrity swerve, the 2018 Literacy Partners Gala at Cipriani Wall Street last night offered a special blend of celebrity cache and literary spirit; in addition to supporting free reading classes for low-income adults, the evening also honored the program’s co-founder, legendary celebrity journalist Liz Smith. See More

Vogue Magazine, March 15, 2018
Sarah Paulson, Junot Díaz, and More Told Stories at the Literacy Partners Gala

The Literacy Partners gala at Cipriani Wall Street was an animated affair, with attendees laughing, toasting cheers, and chatting the entire night. Except, that is, when Sarah Paulson took the stage. Then, you could have heard a paperback book drop.The Emmy Award winner, dressed in an Ulla Johnson jumpsuit and Céline heels, read a passage from Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.

Additionally treating the crowd to a rousing literary rendition was acclaimed author Junot Díaz, who shared an excerpt from his new children’s book, Islandborn. Also being honored last night in several speeches and a video starring Michael Bloomberg was the late Liz Smith, longtime New York gossip columnist and Literacy Partners benefactor who passed away last November. “Gossip,” one of the tributes began, “is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress.” See More

Avenue Magazine, March 15, 2018
A Bookish Bash for Literacy Partners

“Look at all of you,” the elegant 60 Minutes star Lesley Stahl was saying last night at Literacy Partners’ 2018 Gala at Cipriani Wall Street.  “This is one of the best, most joyous nights of the year.” Stahl was presenting a Lizzie Award, named for the late gossip columnist, gal-about-town, and Literacy Partners co-founder Liz Smith, to the former publisher and later, literary agent, Joni Evans. See More

Publisher’s Weekly, March 13, 2018
A Multi-Generational Impact: Literacy Partners and Books of Their Own

Life in New York has its challenges—all the more so if a New Yorker is lacking literacy skills. With the Big Apple’s growing diversity, programs supplying English-language learning and literacy courses are in high demand. Responding to that need is Literacy Partners, which began in 1975 as a chapter of Literacy Volunteers of America, and has gone on to serve thousands of New Yorkers throughout the city’s five boroughs. Emily Harting, director of development and communications at Literacy Partners, and Katie Ly, special projects manager for the organization, recently spoke with PW about the nonprofit as well as its home library program, Books of Their Own. See More

Broadway World, March 1, 2018
State Of The Arts NYC Host Partners With Literacy Partners And The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation For Read Across America

In celebration of National Reading Month this March, and in preparation for Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss Day on March 2nd, Literacy Partners is ensuring their students in low-income communities throughout New York City have high quality books in hand for the entire family to enjoy. Students at the Corona distribution will receive copies of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, thanks to the generosity of The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. See More

New York Family Magazine, November 9, 2017
Spreading Love Locally: 4 Top Charities to Donate to This Season

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2017 has been quite an emotional rollercoaster. From fraught political headlines to a myriad of natural disasters, and not to mention social justice and refugee aid movements, it seems like everywhere you turn, there is a cause in need of help. That’s why we chose to spotlight four charities that are doing a world of good right here in New York City by caring for animals, increasing literacy, helping impoverished children, and feeding hungry children. In the spirit of giving, what better way is there to teach your children how to be caring and compassionate than to give back to those less fortunate? See More

ProLiteracy, October 25, 2017
Member Spotlight: Literacy Partners of New York City

ProLiteracy directly supports our members’ programs and initiatives that have helped millions of adults gain the vital literacy skills they need. For this week’s ProLiteracy member spotlight, we want to talk about Literacy Partners. Since 1975, Literacy Partners has helped over 25,000 adults achieve better lives for themselves and their families through free education classes in New York City. See More

Publisher’s Weekly, August 18, 2017
PRH Goes to the Park

Penguin Random House has long-standing partnerships with both New York City’s Public Theater, to support its Shakespeare in the Park series, and with Literacy Partners. For this summer’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, PRH brought the two together for a special philanthropic book program. See More

mOppenheim TV, August 16, 2017
Nonprofit Spotlight: Literacy Partners Providing “Dual Generation Approach” to Education

According to the Literacy Partners website, 1.6 million adults living in New York City are not fluent in English and ultimately “lack the skills required for daily living and employment tasks beyond the most basic level.”  For adults who are parents to young children, Literacy Partners works to educate and increase English proficiency skills among low-income families. “The overall mission of Literacy Partners is to empower parents through education,” said Anthony Tassi, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. See More

The Chronicle of Philanthropy, August 1, 2017
Fun With Books: Helping Parents Read to Their Kids

Literacy Partners has long taught adults in New York how to read and improve their English. Several years ago, the 45-year-old charity decided it also wanted to improve the academic prospects of the city’s youngest residents. So the organization reshaped its programs to focus on parents and their young children. “We’re serving the adult,” says Anthony Tassi, the group’s executive director. “But we have impact on both generations, trying to get ahead of the curve to prevent the next generation of educational failure.” See More

Crain’s New York Business, June 18, 2017
SNAPS: Literacy Partners Fundraiser

Maurice DuBois, Alina Cho


Reading was the theme of the Literacy Partners fundraiser May 24 at Cipriani 42nd Street. The organization helps adults learn to read and improve their skills. Writer and actress Jill Kargman recited passages from her book Sprinkle Glitter on my Grave. Honoree Sheila Nevins, president of documentary programming for HBO, entertained the crowd with excerpts from her best-seller You Don’t Look Your Age…and Other Fairy Tales. See More

New York Social Diary, May 30, 2017
Liz Smith: Literacy Partners Raised the Roof

“NO matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” Said Confucius.

SHEILA Nevins knocked their socks off when Literacy Partners honored her by giving her “The Lizzie Award” last week at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. This irrepressible woman read to us from her new book “You Don’t Look Your Age … and other Fairy Tales,” which just hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Read More

New York Post, May 25, 2017
Cipriani Literacy Gala Honors Fareed Zakaria Among Others

Publishing and literary world elites gathered at Cipriani 42nd Street on Wednesday evening for the Literacy Partners Evening of Readings and Gala Dinner.

The event honored CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, USA Today editor Joanne Lipman, Literacy Partners board member John Josephson and HBO documentary queen Sheila Nevins. Nevins shared a passage from her new book, “You Don’t Look Your Age . . . and Other Fairy Tales,” which recounts her comical face-lift experience. Read More

New York Social Diary, May 25, 2017
An Evening of Readings

Last night at Cipriani 42nd Street, Literacy Partners held their annual “Evening of Readings” at a fund-raising gala. Hosted by Maurice Dubois, they honored Joanna Lipman, Chief Content Officer of Gannett (Editor-in-Chief of USA Today), introduced by her friend Katie Couric; Fareed Zakaria of CNN, who was introduced by Peter Brown. Liz Smith introduced her friend HBO Documentary Film’s Sheila Nevins who was presented with the Fifth Annual “Lizzie” Award (named for Liz who with Parker Ladd and the late fashion designer Arnold Scaasi and more than a little help from their friends founded this wonderful organization). Read More

        Joanne Lipman, Katie Couric

Huffington Post, May 25, 2017
Literacy Partners Gala 2017

Abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass declared, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free”. Literacy Partners hosted their 31st annual Evening of Readings & Gala Dinner Dance on the evening of Wednesday, May 24th at Cipriani 42nd Street.

The black tie event raised 1 million to continue the organization’s mission to end illiteracy, one adult at a time. Literacy Partners strengthens families with free classes to low income and immigrant parents in New York City. With more than two million adult New Yorkers still struggling to read and write English at an 8th-grade level, Literacy Partners is taking a dual- generation approach to education. Read More

USA Today, May 25, 2017
Joanne Lipman Honored at Literacy Partners’ Gala

Literacy Partners recently honored Joanne Lipman, Gannett’s Chief Content Officer and editor-in-chief of USA TODAY and the USA TODAY NETWORK, at its Evening of Readings Gala. The event, held Wednesday the 24th at New York’s Cipriani 42nd Street, honored Lipman for her “devoted work in literacy and philanthropy.”

The fundraiser was held to further Literacy Partners’ mission to “end illiteracy, one adult at a time,” and the funds will assist in the expansion of the organization’s community-based literacy programs. Since its establishment 44 years ago, Literacy Partners has provided the greater New York City area with literacy services including free classes, serving upwards of 25,000 adults. Read More

Luxury Listings NYC, May 25, 2017
Liz Smith, Fareed Zakaria, Sheila Nevins & Jill Kargman Toast Literacy

Literacy Partners held their annual gala dinner dance at Cipriani 42nd Street yesterday raising $1 million to promote family literacy.

The black-tie event included a reading from actress Jill Kargman from her book “Sprinkle Glitter on My Grave.” Award-winning journalist Maurice DuBois was the emcee for the evening.

USA Today editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman and CNN host Fareed Zakaria were honored at the event. Longtime Literacy Partners board member John Josephson was honored with the Champion of Literacy Award and Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films, was also honored with The Lizzie Award. Read More

Elizabeth Peabody, Liz Smith, Sheila Nevins

Avenue Magazine, May 25, 2017
See Liz. See Liz Raise Money.

The Michael’s lunch bunch came out in force last night at the Literacy Partners Evening of Readings & Gala Dinner Dance at Cipriani 42nd Street. The black-tie event, which honored CNN Host Fareed Zakaria, HBO documentarian Sheila Nevins, USA TODAY Editor-in-Chief Joanne Lipman, and longtime Literacy Partners board member John Josephson, and included readings from Jill Kargman and Nevins, raised $1 million to further the organization’s mission to promote family literacy.

Formed in 1973 as Literacy Volunteers of New York City, the organization gained national prominence and fundraising clout after gossip columnist Liz Smith joined its board a decade later. In 1986, she attracted the dressmaker Arnold Scaasi and his business and life partner Parker Ladd to the board. The latter organized its first gala that year. By 1991, the event was bringing in half a million dollars a year. In 2012, it gave its first Lizzie lifetime achievement award to Smith. Read More

NY1 Noticias, March 22, 2017
Protestan por recorte de fondos en programas de enseñanza de inglés para adultos

Former Literacy Partners student, Lourdes de la Cruz, spoke about the importance of adult English education at a press conference/rally for more adult literacy education funding in New York City.

Watch here.

bbc news video screenshot1

BBC News, June 24, 2014
Hispanic mothers learning English to be better parents

A Literacy Partners class in the South Bronx helps immigrant moms improve their English and advance their children’s early intellectual development–a key strategy in closing the achievement gap among children.

Watch the full video on BBC.

NPR, November 4, 2013
Adding Up The Cost Of Low Literacy Among Adults

Anthony Tassi, executive director of Literacy Partners, says educating adults has a multiplier effect.

“By focusing on parents, you can at once help cure the problem today and also prevent it long term,” he says, “because as you enhance parents’ skills, they will automatically transfer those skills to their children. You don’t need to do anything extra.”

Read the full article on NPR.

Faces of Philanthropy

Anthony Tassi and Literacy Partners champion Liz Smith discuss the under-recognized challenge of illiteracy in New York City.