Press Release – New York, NY (October 27, 2016) — Goddard Riverside Community Center honored the publishing community and outgoing Executive Director Stephan Russo at its Annual Book Fair Gala last night at Cipriani 42nd Street. The event raised $930,000 to fund the programs of Goddard Riverside.
Publishers and booksellers have partnered closely with Goddard Riverside for three decades, after organizing a book fair to fight homelessness in 1987. Today, the annual book fair is an Upper West Side tradition, while publishers sit on the agency’s board and play a major role in shaping its future.
“The seed of an idea born of some genius publishing legends long ago has 30 years later turned into an important and lasting partnership between Goddard Riverside and the publishing industry,” said Mary Ellen Keating, Senior V.P. of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Barnes & Noble, who presided over the festivities. “And, at the very core of this partnership are shared values – of building community and making a difference.”
Stephan Russo is a pioneer of homeless outreach and supportive housing, and a champion of services that strengthen families and communities. Russo began his career at Goddard Riverside in 1976. He quickly rose into management, playing a lead role in both youth and housing programs before becoming Executive Director in 1998.
Evelyn Grant, whose children attended Goddard Riverside’s programs, and who has served on the organization’s board, said Russo has always responded to meet the community’s needs.
“Whether it was Early Learning, housing for seniors, or outreach to the homeless, Stephan wanted Goddard to take the lead. Stephan has a social worker’s heart and the vision of a leader, with a love for children and youth,” said Grant.
“The publishing community’s long-term commitment to the issues we care about is in full force this evening,” said Russo. “All of you here illustrate the impact of the collective – we are much stronger when we recognize our common bonds and build on our strengths rather than go at it alone.”
The award-winning Young People’s Chorus of New York City sang a medley from The Sound of Music to open the festivities.
The Book Fair Gala leads into the annual Book Fair, which will take place Nov. 19-20 at Goddard Riverside’s headquarters at 593 Columbus Avenue.