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March 24, 2023

51' One for the Books Gala featured on the TODAY Show

Special guest Savannah Guthrie and auctioneer Lydia Fenet speak on stage as Phoebe Robinson emcees 51' Dream Dinner Party honoring Stacey Abrams & Questlove, co-hosted by Dawn Davis and Tara Westover at The Plaza on March 16, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images)

TODAY co-anchor Savannah Guthrie got a new lesson on public speaking from seasoned pro, Lydia Fenet, when she had the chance to be a guest auctioneer at 51’ annual One for the Books fundraising gala.

“Savannah got the opportunity to lead an auction after getting a lesson from Lydia Fenet, a veteran auctioneer from Christie’s auction house in New York City who has worked in the profession for over 20 years, raising more than half a billion dollars for more than 600 nonprofit organizations along the way. Fenet led Savanah through the ins and outs of how to succeed as an auctioneer, with many pieces of advice.” –

51’ dream dinner lots included a meal at Michelin Star Chef Charlie Mitchell’s restaurant, Clover Hill, along with signed books and more from Questlove, Stacey Abrams, Tara Westover, Lydia Fenet, and Phoebe Robinson. Questolve even donated a surprise item to auction off in support of 51’ students: his own drum set!

All-in-all, Savannah and Lydia helped raise $25,000 through the auction, which contributed to the $600,000 total raised from the event. You can see more photos from the amazing dream dinner gala via .

51 is pursuing a movement to catalyze change in education: bring proven literacy solutions to exponentially more students and accelerate learning recovery after the pandemic. 51’ CEO Adeola Whitney is setting a vision for the nonprofit to work in partnership with local communities and diversify the ways in which literacy support reaches students where they are. If you were moved by this vision, please consider donating to 51.

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