The American Friends of Jamaica to honor Grace, Kennedy & Co. and Western Union International

New York, NY – The American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ), a non-profit organization that provides funds to educational, health and community organizations in Jamaica, will host its 24th Annual Jamaica Benefit Gala on Saturday, November 5, 2005 at New York’s famous Copacabana. In addition to raising funds for Jamaica, the event will honor Western Union International and Jamaica’s Grace, Kennedy & Co. for their contributions to Jamaican society, particularly in education.

Last year the two companies joined forces with The American Friends of Jamaica and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide mathematics textbooks to Jamaican children island-wide. This donation is estimated to have influenced the lives of over 300,000 elementary-school pupils. Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Maxine Henry-Wilson, expressed gratitude for the gift at The American Friends of Jamaica’s annual grants-distribution luncheon in Kingston in April.

This year once more Western Union International and Grace, Kennedy Remittance Services have pledged US$100,000 each toward a similar objective. Again, USAID and The American Friends of Jamaica will participate in the program.

“We feel very happy this year to be honoring two world-class corporations that have proven their commitment to development in Jamaica,” said former U.S. ambassador to Jamaica Glen A. Holden, the AFJ’s President. Keisha Phipps, the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, added, “For nearly a quarter of a century our Gala has successfully raised funds for Jamaica and we are proud to continue that tradition.”

Supporters of this year’s 24th charity gala will include Ralph Lauren, Jockey International, Air Jamaica, Spirit Airlines, Sandals, SuperClubs, Round Hill, Half Moon, Appleton Rum, Jamaica’s Bijoux Jewelers and other businesses. Among the guests will be Jamaican ambassador to Washington Gordon Shirley, Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs K. D. Knight, several former U.S. ambassadors to Jamaica, prominent businesspeople, and AFJ supporters from New York, Washington, Miami and Jamaica.

A black tie event, the Gala will begin with cocktails and a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. including resort vacations, jewelry, and artwork from Jamaican artists Ras Dizzy, George Rodney, Ewan McAnuff and Khalil Deane, to name a few. Dinner follows at 8:00. To attend please contact Keisha Phipps at 1-800-901-9770 or 1-212-626-6883 or via email at [email protected].

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