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Hundreds Attend Reading Is Fundamental's Gift of Reading Gala

Event raised more than $410 thousand to support children's literacy programs

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2010—Hundreds of children's literacy supporters attended Reading Is Fundamental's Gift of Reading Gala on May 26th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. For more than 43 years, RIF has helped children discover the joy of reading by bringing books to life. This year's event raised more than $410,000 to benefit children's literacy programs nationwide.

The gala brought together distinguished policymakers, as well as corporate and community leaders who share RIF's vision of a literate America. Award-winning host of NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, Liane Hansen, was master of ceremonies at the gala. During the ceremony, stories from RIF alumni demonstrated the power that being able to choose a new book can have on children.

"The Gift of Reading Gala is a wonderful way for RIF to recognize our valuable volunteers, sponsors and advocates committed to improving children's literacy across the country," commented Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. "RIF is very pleased to honor Nestlé USA with the 2010 Legacy of Literacy Award for their considerable contributions to helping children experience the joy of reading."

Nestlé USA was presented with the 2010 Legacy of Literacy award for their strong commitment to improving children's literacy. The company has helped bring books to life for children through diverse and creative strategies, including establishing an annual employee fundraising drive, conducting book fairs, providing theme-based book collections and parent guides, supporting a RIF poster contest, collaborating in Nestlé's Very Best in Youth program, and creating Arthur Ashe Reading Rooms in childcare, community, and medical centers around the country.

RIF also honored its 2010 Anne Richardson Volunteer of the Year Award winners, Donna Koch of Friends of the Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Annette Montoya of the Taos Public Library in Taos, New Mexico; and Matt Jones of the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency Head Start in Petoskey, Michigan. This year's Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by Macy's, RIF's lead partner for volunteer engagement.

The gala concluded with students from Tyler Elementary School in Washington joining former RIF kid Dr. Dale Allender onstage for the gala's traditional goodnight story. The read-aloud of The Dandelion Seed by Joseph P. Anthony tied together RIF's mission and the theme of the evening.

About RIF
Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information, and to access reading resources, visit RIF's website at www.rif.org.

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Press Contact:

Matt Saler
(443) 977-9367

Melissa Mills
(202) 536-3528


Hundreds Attend Reading Is Fundamental's Gift of Reading Gala