The Greater New York Chapter of The Links celebrated its 70th anniversary with a sparkling gala fundraiser on an equally sparkling evening at the iconic 583 Park Avenue. Hosted by Dr. Donna Jones, president, Greater New York Chapter of The Links, the sold-out event was aptly billed as the Diamonds and Pearls Gala, with more than 600 influencers from New York’s business, civic, social service and philanthropic communities in attendance. The goal of the event was to raise funds and awareness for the Chapter’s work in the following areas: services to youth, the arts, national trends and services, international trends and services and health and human services.
“This celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Greater New York Chapter of The Links is more than a culmination of tireless and dedicated service. It is a commencement of a new era for our beloved Chapter as we set the stage for 70 more years and beyond in friendship and in service,” says Dr. Jones. “Our Diamonds and Pearls Gala evening is a spectacular result of hard work and dedication, as we pay homage to our founding members and are inspired every day to carry out their vision.”
From the crystal-and pearl-embellished table numbers and bounteous white roses and hydrangeas, to the elegant string quartet, emerald luminescent lighting, flowing champagne and signature cocktails, the Diamonds and Pearls Gala was helmed by an outstanding Gala Committee with Katrina McGhee and Icema Gibbs serving as co-chairs. The Gala Committee also included the following GNY Links Members: Gina Bolden-Rivera, Calvina Bostick, Kalyn Johnson Chandler, Olga Dais, Nailah Flake-Brown, Kia Floyd, DeNora Getachew, Deborah “Debbie” Jackson, Ruth “Cookie” Jean, Tiffany Johnson, Jillian E. Joseph, Lynn Law, Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Dr. Marcella Maxwell, Gerri Warren Merrick, Barbara North-Lightning, Racquel Oden, Cari Robinson, Janis Robinson, Tennille Robinson, Dominique Sharpton-Bright, Helen C. Shelton, Michelle D. Stent, Nanette L. Thomas, Deborah Whitfield and Linda Zango-Haley. Emmy Award-winning CBS News correspondent, Michelle Miller Morial, also a member of GNY Links, was the mistress of ceremonies.
Fittingly enough, GNY Links Platinum Members Dr. Marcella Maxwell and Betty King Obiajulu were also on hand, as were GNY Links Alumnae Members Mary Ellen Arrington, Virginia Arrington, Grace Ingleton, Karen Selsey and Judy West.
The evening began with welcome remarks from Dr. Donna Jones, followed by greetings from the Links Vice Area Director Shuana Tucker-Simms, Ph.D. This was followed by a wonderfully allegorical address that praised the women of the GNY Links and their years of dedicated service from Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph.D. and National President of The Links, Incorporated. The Rev. Dr. Elaine Flake, a member of the GNY Links, led the group in prayer, officially commencing the event.
The GNY Links Diamonds and Pearls Gala honored two distinguished women: the legendary Alma Rangel has served the Harlem community for more than five decades, and Christina Lewis Halpern, founder and CEO of All Star Code.
Among notable attendees were Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, New York State Senator Brian A. Benjamin, New York State Assembly Members Michael Blake and Walter T. Mosley, New York State Senator Kevin Parker, New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Hazel N. Dukes, past national president of the NAACP, Charles B. Rangel, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Hon. Tanya Kennedy, Michelle D. Grady, Esq. and C. Virginia Fields, member of the GNY Links, former Manhattan Borough President and current president of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.
Colgate, Facebook and JetBlue were Diamond Sponsors of the event. Pearl Sponsors include Flushing Bank, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and Zin Technologies. GNY Links Communications Chair Helen Shelton provided pro bono public relations for the event courtesy of global marketing communications firm Finn Partners. Maison Marcel sponsored the wine bar with its new sparkling rosé at a private reception. For more information of the Greater New York Chapter of The Links and their work, please visit www.greaternewyorklinksinc.org.