The energy was electric on Monday night (October 23rd) in New York City as the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) honored Joseph M. Matalon, Vincent HoSang and Cecil Sam Wright. A performance by Busy Signal and music by Max Glazer created an unforgettable evening at the Mandarin Oriental as more than 230 friends of Jamaica gathered to help raise funds in support of the AFJ’s mission for Jamaica. AFJ President, Wendy Hart stated “We want to thank all of our Friends of Jamaica for their incredible generosity which made the evening such a success and will help further our support to those in need in Jamaica.”
The prestigious roster of former United States Ambassadors to Jamaica and others with interests in Jamaica who compile the AFJ’s Board were joined by event Master of Ceremonies Kori Chambers, Newscaster WPIX, Malik Yoba, Actor, Copeland Bryan, former NFL Player, Ambassador Courtney Rattray and Consul General Trudy Deans. The annual New York Gala is an opportunity for the Diaspora community, supporters and friends with an interest in Jamaica to give back to Jamaicans in the areas of education, healthcare and economic development. Sponsors of the event included title sponsor ICD Group, Caribbean Food Delights, Quality AutoMall, JetBlue and Carimed Ltd.
The Gala featured a highly coveted selection of auction items including luxury vacation packages from the Santuary Camelback Mountain Resort, Couples Resorts, Sandals Resorts, Golden Eye, Half Moon, RIU, Rockhouse, Spanish Court Hotel, Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, Casa Morada and other curated experiential items. AFJ Galas have attracted a diverse and aware audience of friends of Jamaica. Former honorees have included Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia, Gary “Butch” Hendrickson, National Continental Baking Company, Lowell Hawthorne, GoldenKrust, Dennis Lalor, ICWI, Kenny Benjamin, Guardsman Group, Denis O’Brien, Digicel, Ralph & Ricky Lauren, Harry Belafonte and numerous others.
To date, the AFJ has presented grants of over U$14M. The AFJ demonstrates the power of collaboration and support to help engage people from underserved communities. “What is bigger than a contribution is the demonstration of advocacy for our causes. We are committed to help Jamaicans in need with tools and opportunities to help them improve their conditions and realize their fullest potential,” said AFJ Executive Director, Caron Chung.