A nonprofit agency dedicated to improving literacy commemorated its 20th anniversary on Feb. 20 at The Club in Homewood.
Better Basics, which provides school-day, after school and summer reading programs for at-risk children, marked the milestone with the Celebrate 20 in ’14 dinner.
Almost 400 people attended the event which honored the people, agencies, corporations and foundations that have played significant roles in the growth of Better Basics in the organization’s 20-year history.
The Celebrate 20 in ’14 event raised almost $70,000 to support Better Basics’ full range of literacy programs in area public schools. Last year, Better Basics served more than 19,000 students and gave away almost 40,000 books to children who might not otherwise have books in their homes.
“We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of community support we received for the 20 in 14 event,” said Karen Kapp, executive director. “It was a wonderful evening celebrating the achievements of the hundreds of thousands of children Better Basics has served throughout the past 20 years.”
Former NBA and University of Alabama basketball star Ennis Whatley was the featured speaker. Whatley, a graduate of Phillips High School in Birmingham, led the University of Alabama’s basketball team to a Sweet 16 appearance in the 1982 NCAA Tournament before playing 10 seasons in the NBA.
Now an inspirational speaker, he struggled through school until college, when he discovered the importance of reading and education, he said.
Others attending the birthday bash included Kevin Sutton, Jeff Cox, Margaret Cox, Joe Schmidt, Cissy Schmidt, Kara Myers and Kym Prewitt.
Miss Alabama USA Jessica Ahlbery also attended the fundraiser. Gene Hallman served as the event’s master of ceremonies.