Yes that was Tim McGraw on stage at the Kennedy Center earlier this week. But he wasn’t in concert… or at least not headlining a musical concert of his own. Instead, he was honoring literacy trailblazers with The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy at its 30th anniversary National Celebration of Reading event making its return to Washington, DC.
Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham and Grammy Award winner McGraw actually closed the evening with a conversation and performance from their book Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music that Made a Nation. Among other notables in attendance supporting the event were best-selling and award-winning authors Jean Case, Jesse J. Holland, Eric Motley, Susan Orlean and Delia Owens, who offered insights into how literacy has shaped their lives.
“Thirty-six million adults in America still cannot read, write or comprehend,” said Doro Bush Koch, Honorary Chair of the Barbara Bush Foundation. “Leaders like [those honored at the event] are so important to this work—pioneering the literacy movement and working tirelessly to create resources and programs that change the lives of so many Americans.”
The Barbara Bush National Literacy Honors were presented to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and Jim Duffy, former president of ABC Television. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a longtime partner of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and adult literacy programs across the nation. Duffy created Project Literacy U.S., a partnership between PBS and ABC to raise awareness about the silent crisis impacting millions of Americans.
“Creating big bold solutions that advance adult literacy requires innovation, collaboration and perseverance,” said Denine Torr, Executive Director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. “The beauty of the literacy field is that as we work together to increase access to programming and enhance educational resources, we begin to level the playing fields of life and strengthen opportunities for families.”
Philanthropists, education leaders and business leaders attended the National Celebration of Reading to promote awareness of this country’s adult literacy crisis, raise funds in support of the Foundation’s work and celebrate the life-changing power of literacy. Funds raised from the event will help the Foundation continue to expand family literacy services to parents and children across the United States.