May 12, 2017
Room to Read, a global non-profit that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children® held their annual New York gala last night at The High Line Hotel with honorees, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises and David M. Solomon, President and Co-COO of Goldman Sachs as well as performer, Faith Evans in attendance. The evening brought the New York financial and business community together with the entertainment industry to raise $2.8 million which will support 56,000 children on Room to Read’s programs in literacy and girls’ education, it was announced last night by Scott Kapnick, Room to Read board chair and event chair and Sonny Kalsi, event chair. Faith Evans closed the evening with a performance of several songs in tribute to the honorees.
Combs was presented with the Superhero Award for his commitment to world change through education. Combs has a diverse portfolio of businesses and investments covering the music, fashion, fragrance, beverage, marketing, film, television, and media industries. Combs is the co-founder of Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, a free, public charter school in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City which serves grades 6–12 with a year-round, college preparatory education.
"There comes a time in your life when you look for what your purpose is,” said Combs. “This is part of my purpose - to fight for the kids who can't fight for themselves...to fight for them to receive the education they need to take destiny into their own hands and define their future."
Solomon was presented with the Champion Award for Goldman Sachs’ transformational impact on literacy and girls’ education. Goldman Sachs has been a partner of Room to Read since 2000 and has engaged with the organization through Goldman Sachs Gives, the Goldman Sachs Foundation and employee contributions. Launched in 2010, Goldman Sachs Gives is a philanthropic fund through which the firm’s senior people have recommended over $1.2 billion in grants, reaching 5,600 non-profits in 90 countries. Through this fund, partners of the firm have invested over $19.2 million in the Room to Read’s programs. In 2016 alone, Goldman Sachs Gives accounted for approximately $2.2MM invested in Room to Read, allowing Room to Read to reach more than 44,000 children through their Literacy and Girls’ Education Programs in Asia and Africa.
“When you give schools the resources to help students learn and grow, it will not only better equip these children with skills they need to succeed and thrive later in life, but also supports a healthier, more prosperous society,” said Solomon. “Goldman Sachs is proud to support Room to Read and its commitment to education and improving the lives of children around the world.”
Speakers at the event included Roshanara, a graduate of Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program in India who was pressured by her family to drop out of school at 15 and enter into an arranged marriage. Roshanara advocated for her right to an education with the support of Room to Read and is now pursuing a university degree.
“Educating children is the most critical investment we can make in our lifetimes to ensure change around the world,” said Scott Kapnick, CEO of HPS Investment Partners and Room to Read Board Chair.