American Friends of Jamaica Awards $102.9M (JMD) to 33 Charities in Jamaica

New York based American Friends of Jamaica award grants to 33 charities in Jamaica Wendy Hart, Usain Bolt, Glenford Christian, Caron Chung
Prime Minister Holness (center) shares the spotlight with Americans Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) 2019 International Humanitarian Awardees, Usain Bolt (2nd left) and Glenford Christian (2nd Right). Pictured from L to R: President of AFJ Wendy Hart and Executive Director of AFJ, Caron Chung at the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) 2019 Hummingbird Gala at Cipriani in Manhattan on Friday, October 25, 2019. Photo Derrick Scott

by Derrick Scott

NEW YORK – The New York based American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) awarded grants totaling $102.9 million JMD to 33 charities and organizations in Jamaica for the period of April 2018 to March 2019, under its worthy program.

According to the President of AFJ Wendy Hart, “we are proud of the grants that the AFJ has made this year impacting the social intervention programs that focus on education, training, violence reduction and the critically needed medical supplies across the country.”

In giving an overview of the AFJ’s performance at its 2019 Hummingbird Gala on Friday, October 25th at Cipriani in Manhattan, Ms. Hart told the over 500 attendees that their financial support to the AFJ has contributed to education, healthcare and economic development in Jamaica.

“Your contributions keep teenage mothers on a path to complete their education providing for their own future and of their unborn child, helps unemployed youth to get trained as a basic school teacher, equip a laparoscopic lab at the University of the West Indies and giving back people their sight. This is what the AFJ is all about.”

The AJF President pointed out, last year the organization received over 85 applications for grants but was only able to assist 33 applicants. Ms. Hart, pointed that it is organizations desire to increase the number of grants issued in coming years.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness in delivering the keynote address lauded the AFJ as a true friend of Jamaica and Jamaicans. “This philanthropic body has supported Jamaicans in need for many years by raising funds to improve the social and educational circumstances through the provision of scholarships and other philanthropic activities wherever there is a need.”

The Prime Minister said that the AFJ as a non-profit organization has extended to improve the lives of Jamaicans by supporting initiatives that advance self-sufficiency, promote healthy communities and strengthening the nation since 1986.

He further pointed out that over the years the AFJ has provided opportunities to improve the quality of life of individuals by making the financial and social interventions, focusing its grants on education healthcare and economic activities.

“My administration recognizes the effort of the AFJ in promoting good will especially in the areas of education, healthcare and economics. I commend the work of the members of the organizations ably headed by President Wendy Hart.”

Prime Minister Andrew Holness used the opportunity to congratulate the two AFJ International Hummingbird Awardees, Usain Bolt and  Glen Christian.

“The two esteem Jamaican honorees have worked tirelessly to promote our great country and build a positive and prosperous Jamaica  through their profession, business and acts of benevolence. I extend heartfelt congratulations to the distinguished honorees of the International Hummingbird Award. You are a source of inspiration to all Jamaicans.”

Numbering more than five hundred altogether, friends of Jamaica and Jamaicans turned out for The American Friends of Jamaica.

The main highlight of the evening’s event was the presentation of the AFJ’s International Humanitarian Award to two icons Usain Bolt and Glenford Christian – for the outstanding impact they have had on philanthropy.

Showcasing AFJ’s work in Jamaica, the gala also celebrated the two extraordinary honorees for their achievements in their respective fields – sports for Mr. Bolt, and medical supplies and pharmaceuticals for Mr. Christian – as well as in philanthropy.

A solid musical package compliments of the legendary Toots and the Maytals and singing sensation Christopher Martin, ensured patrons ended the evening very well satisfied.

United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia (center), is flanked by L to R Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks and former United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Brenda Johnson at the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) 2019 Hummingbird Gala at Cipriani in Manhattan on Friday, October 25, 2019. Photo Derrick Scott .
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