Sat | Feb 16, 2019

American Friends of Jamaica raises approximately US$400K in New York

Published:Wednesday | November 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
The American Friends of Jamaica at the recent 2018 Hummingbird Gala, held at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, United States. From left, seated: Curb Gardner, Ambassador Sue Cobb, Chris Blackwell, and Ambassador Brenda Johnson. From left, standing: Glenn Creamer, Ambassador Audrey Marks, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Patricia Frances, Michele Rollins.

The American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) held its 2018 Hummingbird Gala recently at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, United States. The AFJ presented the prestigious International Humanitarian Award to Albert J. Dwoskin and Patricia Chin.

The evening began with a cocktail reception, where Blackwell Rum's 'Golden Eye Cocktail' was served. Guests were able to bid on an exciting silent auction collection including cruises, luxury vacations, art, sports memorabilia, food and dining, fine wine courtesy of Staggs Leap, and more.

A special three-course dinner followed, with pulsating live entertainment at this historic New York City landmark.

AFJ president Wendy Hart stated, "We are here tonight for opportunity and for transformation to fund programmes with impact that improve the lives of those they touch."

The 2018 Hummingbird Gala sponsors include A.J. Dwoskin & Associates, VP Records, jetBlue, ADA Music 25, and Vanessa Noel.

During the programme, the AFJ launched its annual vignette, showcasing the year's work of transformative programmes in Jamaica.

The energy in the grand ballroom was electrifying, as dancehall legend Johnny Osbourne, United Kingdom singer and songwriter Estelle, international reggae star Tarrus Riley, TTO Band, and Max Glazer took guests on an unforgettable musical journey through the years of reggae.

"The gala was an extraordinary opportunity to experience stellar artistes in an intimate setting while showing support for the mission of the AFJ," stated AFJ executive director Caron Chung.

The annual New York Gala is an opportunity for the diaspora community, supporters and friends with an interest in Jamaica to provide financial resources to vulnerable Jamaicans in the areas of education, healthcare and economic development.

AFJ's annual galas attract diverse individuals who have special bonds of friendship with the people of Jamaica. Former honorees include Joseph Matalon, chairman, ICD Group; Vincent HoSang, president, Caribbean Food Delights; Cecil Sam Wright, president, Quality AutoMall; Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia; Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson, chairman, National Continental Baking Company; Lowell Hawthorne, GoldenKrust; Dennis Lalor, ICWI; Kenny Benjamin, Guardsman Group; Denis O'Brien, Digicel; Ralph and Ricky Lauren; Harry Belafonte; and others.

To date, the AFJ has presented grants of over US$14 million. The AFJ demonstrates the power of collaboration to engage with and to support residents of underserved Jamaican communities.