Black Women Philanthropists Making "Herstory"

March 8, 2021 12:09 PM EST

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Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links, Inc. advances the work of The Center for African American Health with a historic investment

Denver, CO, March 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In recognition of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, the Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, made 'herstory' with its largest donation to date - a $100,000 gift to the Center for African American Health's (CAA Health) capital campaign. The investment represents a collective giving model, which is fueled by a long-standing tradition in the African American community that has historically and culturally played an important role in reinforcing the financial stability and sustainability of Black institutions. 

"The significance of this Legacy gift from the collective efforts of the Denver Chapter of The Links is so much more than the six-figure investment," said Deidre Johnson, Executive Director for the Center for African Health. "It sets an example, and issues an invitation, encouraging others - individuals and organizations - to also make a contribution to our work and in the programs of other African American institutional anchors in our community."

The initial investment from the Denver Chapter of $25,000 more than tripled when members steadily followed with additional, individual donations. This effort marks CAA Health's first contribution from an African American-led organization in support of the capital campaign.

"As African American women, we recognize and embrace our social and civic responsibilities in transforming our communities and elevating the voices of Black women," said Denver Links' Immediate Past President and Founder of Black Resilience in Colorado Fund, LaDawn Sullivan. "As we look to dismantle systems of oppression, we lean in, go above and beyond, and invest collectively and strategically.  We are led by the voices of African Americans in our community."

The Links' donation to the capital campaign will further cement the foundation of CAA Health's physical space and will provide the opportunity for the organization to own the facility. CAA Health serves as a Family Resource Center working to aid multi-generational community members with select direct health services, including mental health, access to health coverage, and patient advocacy. Since the beginning of the pandemic, CAA Health has demonstrated its ability to be nimble and serve the needs of the community through COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, food distribution, crisis counseling and more. Much of this work is happening just outside the building, in the parking lot in adherence to the state's COVID parameters.

"For nearly a quarter of a century, the Center for African American Health has been a place for the Black community to gather for health resources and services," said community advocate and long-standing Links member Tina Walls. "Now, more than ever, as we navigate the COVID-19 challenges and their intersection with racial justice, CAA Health is uniquely positioned to meet the direct needs of our community while also addressing the systemic challenges that require broader intervention."

"Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated's investment in CAA Health demonstrates the magnitude of the chapter's commitment to the ideals of our organization and their own nearly 70-years of civic responsibility in providing for those who need them most," said Western Area Director of The Links, Incorporated Lorna C. Hankins. "This tremendous and historic gift goes far beyond brick and mortar and will be the example of the collective impact of women coming together with vision, purpose and a passion to ignite change and accelerate equity for years to come."

Investing in Black-led and Black-serving organizations continues to be a priority for the Denver Chapter, with deep roots in the community which dates back to 1952. The chapter is part of The Links, Incorporated, one of the nation's oldest and largest volunteer service organizations that serves African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. The Links, Inc. has 290 chapters totaling 16,000 members around the world.

"We see each other – meaning that we understand our role as Black women in narrowing the divide of racial inequities to ensure better outcomes for ourselves, our families and our communities," shared Jada Dixon, Denver Chapter President. "From bolstering better results in education to addressing health disparities, our consistent and coordinated investment of money, time, talent and testimony illustrates the impact and power of our collective and most importantly our efforts are led by the voices of the African Americans in our community."

About the Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links, Inc. 

The 67 African American women who are active and alumna members in the Denver Chapter of The Links, Inc. make quiet contributions that have historically been a cornerstone in supporting Black Americans and especially women, girls, and youth.  Rooted in sisterhood and with a commitment and dedication to service, the organization focuses in five distinct facets – the Arts, Services to Youth, Health and Human Services, National Trends, and International Trends and Services. These facets implement programs through strategies that build capacity, such as public information and education, economic development, and public policy campaigns. Beyond financial donations, 5,000+ hours of volunteer time are given each year as Links' members engage with various activities across the metro area. Visit denverlinksinc.org or contact the organization at info@denverlinksinc.org.

About The Center for African American Health

The mission of The Center for African American Health (CAA Health) is to improve the health and well-being of African Americans who have higher rates of illness, disability, and premature death from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Established in 1997 and re-envisioned in 2005, CAA Health evolved from the health programming of the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative, which for more than a decade collaborated with black churches to offer health programs throughout the African American community, as well as programs for at-risk youth, academically struggling students, and ex-offenders. Since 2005, CAA Health has provided prevention and disease management programs focusing on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, wellness programs for seniors, health insurance literacy, and a variety of health education topics as well as referrals to community resources. By leveraging their extensive community partnerships and relationships, CAA Health has provided evidence-based, grassroots health education, health promotion, disease prevention and disease management programs to thousands of individuals throughout metro-Denver. The Center for African American Health welcomes donations to their capital campaign at caahealth.org or for more information 303.355.3423.

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