AFUWI, Jammins Productions bat for UWI students
Cecelia Campbell-Livingston, Gleaner Writer
The American Foundation for the University of The West Indies (AFUWI), a charitable organisation in the United States whose mission is to raise funds to aid University of the West Indies (UWI) students is pressing along in spite of the many challenges.
This year, the organisation will be celebrating 18 years and will host its annual Legacy Awards Gala on Wednesday at the Pierre in New York City.
The annual event, organised under the auspices of honorary patron Harry Belafonte, O.J., seeks to raise funds for the UWI, the largest and most long-standing higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean.
With students' loans offering only limited assistance, students look forward to alternative means to help them to acquire a tertiary education.
AFUWI may not be able to help all, but as Ann-Marie Grant, executive director of AFUWI said, "We have no choice but to continue with efforts to support as many of these bright, ambitious young persons as possible to ensure that their talents can be optimised and ultimately our society will be bettered by their contributions over time".
For Grant, the challenges in the fundraising arena include persons with limited income trying to meet their own personal needs and therefore can't reach out to help. Added to that she said the organisation is not yet well known so contributions are slow in coming in.
Importance of tertiary education
Another perception that AFUWI has to battle is that many believe a tertiary education is not a critical component for existence, but is 'nice to have'.
Good fortune has smiled on the organisation, as New York promoter George Crooks from Jammins Production has again offered to donate part proceeds of his upcoming event.
The concert features two nights over Valentine's weekend with headliners - Shaggy, Maxi Priest and Sanchez performing live in concert on Friday, February 13 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and on Saturday February 14 at Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY.
"Partnering with AFUWI Scholarship Fund gives us the platform to assist students financially in pursuing their dreams," Crooks said. "For this event, we have added another organisation Provident Clinical Society of Brooklyn to offer part proceeds. Provident Clinical Society advocates for, represents, and promotes the collective interest of under-represented minority students who live, work, or have interest in Brooklyn, as well as the community they serve. Our aim is to support students here in Brooklyn which is our home and business base, but not forget the Caribbean, where we are from originally," he said