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Houstonians Fall in Love with Reading All Over Again

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s Ladies for Literacy Guild’s Sixth Annual Power of Literacy Luncheon is a resounding seasonally themed success raising over $430,000

Photo Credits: Jacob Powers and Daniel Ortiz

The Celebration

On Friday, October 15, 2021, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s Ladies for Literacy Guild (Guild) hosted its sixth annual Power of Literacy Luncheon at The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston. Themed, Fall in Love With Reading, the stylish event was cochaired by Stephanie Tsuru and Leisa Holland-Nelson Bowman. Keith Garvin, KPRC 2 news anchor, was the emcee. Kathie Lee Gifford, four-time Emmy award winner, former cohost of the fourth hour of The Today Show, and New York Times bestselling author, was the keynote speaker.


The Story

An enormous Giving Tree crafted by Art Attack, and larger-than-life open books featuring images and stories of former First Lady Barbara Bush and President George H. W. Bush created by The Events Company, greeted awe-struck guests in the foyer. Continuing the autumnal theme, a huge fall-floral-and-pumpkin-covered canopy on a boxwood stage backdrop welcomed attendees to the dining room. The nearly 500 guests then sat down to tables dressed in ivory linens adorned with vivid floral centerpieces provided by H-E-B and enjoyed a delicious meal featuring vichyssoise shots, chicken ballotine salad, and black forest cake catered by Post Oak Hotel.

Participants were able to purchase raffle tickets to win amazing prizes. These included a double strand necklace of freshwater pearls generously donated by Tenenbaum Jewelers and Tony Bradfield as well as attendance at the VIP Champagne reception with Kathie Lee Gifford. They were also able to donate to the Giving Tree planted by Phillips 66. With each donation of $100, guests received a velvet pumpkin thanks to Phillips 66 and were entered to win one of two pearl-and-rhinestone brooches courtesy of Kenneth Jay Lane Jewelers or a deluxe velvet pumpkin set courtesy of Plush Pumpkin.

The Moments

Stephanie Tsuru and Leisa Holland-Nelson Bowman spoke about how funds raised by the Guild’s initiatives make the Curiosity Cruiser mobile library fleet and other programs, which help children learn to read, write, and develop digital literacy skills, possible. Guild president, Lisa Jakel, highlighted the Guild’s achievements and announced that the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s(Foundation) My Home Library program will have given out its 100,000th home library to underserved children in December of 2021 with support from the Guild.

KPRC 2 News anchor Dominique Sachsemoderated the much-anticipated fireside chat with  Kathie Lee Gifford, which was preceded by a video montage of images from Gifford’s last day on The Today Show with cohost Hoda Kotb. Various topics, including Gifford’s impress