Gala and Book Fair Celebrate Power of Community

The Goddard Riverside Young People's Chorus was a highlight of the Annual Gala.

Goddard Riverside’s two major fall events, the Annual Gala and the Book Fair, once again brought supporters, participants and staff together to celebrate the year behind and power the year ahead.

“Our work is far greater than merely dispensing charity,” said Executive Director Roderick L. Jones at the Annual Gala, attended by more than 300 guests on October 30th at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall . “We invest in people to strengthen society because they are interdependent.”

Jones introduced two members of the Goddard community to talk about how their involvement has changed their lives. Roman, a sixth grader, spoke about how the Performing Arts Summer Camp developed his skills as a performer and built his confidence. Tim, who became homeless while chasing his dream of film school, credited the Homeless Outreach team with helping him find housing and start working toward his MFA.

“Without Goddard I wouldn’t have had a chance to go to Columbia,” he said.

The Gala honored Phil Ollila of Ingram Content Group, one of Goddard’s longtime supporters in the book industry. It also featured the announcement of the second annual Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice, which went to Bernice Yeung’s In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers.

Major publishing houses were well-represented in the audience.

Goddard Riverside has been fortunate to have a strong partnership with publishers for decades. That partnership was on display at the 32nd annual Book Fair, where bestsellers ranging from Stephen King’s The Outsider to astronaut Scott Kelly’s memoir Endurance to the young adult hit The Hate U Give crowded the tables. Publishers donate brand-new books and volunteers sell them for half-price at the Fair to support Goddard’s 27 programs.

The Book Fair launched with First Look Friday, a cocktail party that offered nearly 200 guests a chance to shop the tables early. Author James Mustich gave a toast and signed copies of his new release, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die —many of which were snapped up by the book-loving crowd.