Almost 100 guests joined Link Community Development USA for their 3rd Annual Benefit on Saturday, May 5 at Gruen Galleries in Chicago. See more pictures of the event on our Facebook page.
The benefit began with an energetic West African dance performance by Chicago’s own Mofindu African Drum and Dance Company. Markeya Howard and her company described the dances and instruments used, and then invited guests to join in dancing. The performance was well received and an energetic way to start the evening.
Former Deputy President of South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was Honorary Benefit Chair of the benefit. While she was unfortunately unable to attend, she nevertheless sent a special video to the benefit guests. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke of the merging of her Umlambo Foundation and Link South Africa. Together, the Umlambo Foundation and Link Community Development will work tirelessly to increase the capacity of South Africa’s public schools, particularly in rural areas. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka challenged the audience to “get their hands dirty”, reminding us that we each have a role to play in the ongoing struggle to provide quality education for all children.
Steve Blunden, Link International CEO, spoke in further detail about Link’s programming in Africa and outlined the challenges that remain in education.
Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed a live cello duo, hearty hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. A silent auction including a $500 Antler USA luggage set and 2 nights at any Hyatt hotel was a highlight, as was the live Rock Paper Scissors tournament at the end of the evening. The winner was thrilled to receive an Android tablet! Twelve guests also signed up to be School Sponsors, committing to a $32 per month donation. School Sponsors chose the school they will support from several profiles of schools in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda. Link is so excited to welcome our new School Sponsors!
Thank you to everyone who attended the benefit or donated in its honor. We could not do our work without you!
Special thanks to: Link USA Board of Directors and Advisory Council, Gruen Galleries, Mofindu African Drum and Dance, all volunteers and musicians, Antler Luggage and Hyatt Hotels.