Fifth Annual Fall Benefit Of The Foundation For Letters

Editor in chief: Najaam Lee
Contributing Location Writer: Mitchell Acks
Photo credit:  Courtesy of the Foundation For Letters

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On October 19th, 2016, the Foundation For Letters held their 5th annual Fall Benefit at the IAC building –InterActiveCorp in New York City.

The benefit was hosted by lifestyle TV producer, community leader, and activist Rebecca Gitana Torres ( The event concluded with a presidential debate viewing, kicked off by The Daily Beast editor-in-chief and CNN correspondent, John Avlon.

The following were honoured and awarded:

Marley Davis was honoured; an 11 year old, social activist behind #1000BlackGirlsBooks  an international movement to collect and donate children’s books that feature Black girls as the lead character. She was frustrated by the lack of Black female role models in her school books and launched drive in November 2015, with the help of Grass-Roots. She was able to collect 4,000 books, 4 times the goal and most of the books were donated to Retreat School in the Parish of Saint Mary, Jamaica, where her mother grew up. She has just interviewed Hillary Clinton as the editor-in-chief of her own namesake publication under Marley encouraged students to seek out community and realize that the mission to seek out inclusion is bigger than self.

Vivica A. Fox, actress and star of “Empire,” was the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Service Award. She is currently filming the sci-fi action film, “Creed,” making history as the first black actress to play the president in a live-action feature film. She also announced that she would author a memoir on her life and career journey. We are super excited for her future book.

With so much passion and happiness in receiving her award, Fox shared

“It’s a wonderful time to be a woman, we have more opportunities than what we have ever had, we strive for equal pay and opportunity because it’s our time, there is no room to apologize, love, honor, celebrate one another. I believe, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

Receiving the  Foundation for Letters Service Award with Justice, was Dr. Nadia Lopez, a renowned school principal, community leader & author, founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy. Her story inspired hundreds of thousands around the world, raising over$1.4 million in donations online in less than three weeks. Dr. Lopez’s debut book, “Bridge to Brilliance” shows her inspirational story of raising millions of dollars for New York City schools.

Catherine Saint Louis, a reporter and editor for the New York Times for the past 16 years, covering health and medicine, shared a touching message about the importance of sisterhood and self-confidence.  She covered cultural trends and beauty as a reporter, She edited the Fitness, Story and Lives sections of the Times.

Carmen Rita Wong, CEO of Malecon Industries, television personality and the author of the popular novel, “Never Too Real,” which is being actively considered for television series with a major network, shared the importance of perseverance speaking directly to the young authors in room:

“I was told that I could not write by my bosses at major publications, and “no” so many times, that I wrote my own book to prove it to myself.”


The Foundation for Letters (FFL) provides urban students and schools with access to innovative writing-intensive academic and enrichment programs that are designed, staffed and funded by volunteers from the literary community and beyond. FFL also helps under served communities of schools form their own networks of external support that form partnerships, raise funds and engage volunteers who are committed to increasing student engagement with writing.

More about the Foundation can be found on their website:


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