The Chicago LINKS Cotillion has major plans for this year. In fact, the organization is stepping up their community outreach efforts and will be giving more than $30K back into the community as well as providing scholarships for the participating debutantes.
“Our goals are to dramatically increase our service to the African American community in Chicago. We plan to do this by bolstering our participation and support of programs that focus on African American girls,” says Denise Gardner, president, Chicago Chapter, The Links, Inc. “We embarked on this campaign because we believe that there is a positive story to tell in our community. Our youth have hope; our youth have promise; our youth have talent. And we want to nurture this and celebrate this.”
The organization’s tactics are threefold:
1) They will partner with a South Side organization, Polished Pebbles, that mentors more than 100 African American girls 7-17 of age and aims to increase their confidence and communication/leadership skills;
2) The Chicago LINKS will give financial support of $30,000 in grants to Chicago organizations that provide STEM programming to African American girls;
3) It will herald the accomplishments and success of 46 high school African-American young women and men by showcasing them at our 55th Annual Cotillion.
The organization looks to promote the potential of the community’s youth. “Again, we want to nurture their potential and help them be their best. For the Polished Pebbles young women, we want them to be leaders at school and we want them to identify future careers and move toward high school graduation and college. For the STEM programs, we want to help young women participate in STEM education in careers. For the young people of the Cotillion, we want them to both continue their success in college and to understand that, as African Americans, we have a responsibility to help our fellow citizens,” explains Gardner.
According to Gardner, it’s important for organizations such as the LINKS to thrive and continue. “We are vital to the community because we make a significant impact. The Links, Incorporated has over 14,000 members in 276 cities. Collectively, we log over 500,000 hours in community service each year. And we generate significant fundraising dollars,” notes Gardner. “Here in Chicago, programs like our Cotillion have generated well over $1 million in support to non-profits in the city. We are vital because our mission is single-mindedly focused on transformational change in the African American community. And we do so through hands-on service and through philanthropy.”