Thursday, April 24, 2014

Africare Celebrates African-American Leadership at 2014 Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner

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Africare’s President Darius Mans (left) with Africare’s Co-Founders
C. Payne Lucas and Dr. Joseph C. Kennedy (right), Board Chairman Stephen D. Cashin and Honorary Vice Chair Maria Walker

Peace Corps Alumni C. Payne Lucas and Dr. Joseph C. Kennedy recognized for their pioneering leadership in international development

WASHINGTON, DC – Africare, the oldest and largest African-American led non-profit committed to advancing development in Africa, hosted more than 500 global leaders including South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, Civil Rights Activist Andrew Young and President Emertia of Bennett College for Women Julianne Malveaux, on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at its annual Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner and fundraiser at the Hilton Washington Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event honored Africare’s pioneering Co-Founders C. Payne Lucas and Dr. Joseph C. Kennedy with Lifetime Achievement Awards for the tremendous contributions they have each made to Africare over more than four decades.

“C. Payne and Dr. Kennedy focused on educating Americans about the challenges Africans face and the tremendous opportunities we have to help,” said Darius Mans, president, Africare. “Their tireless efforts to educate Americans led community, religious and fraternal organizations, as well as government and business entities, to discover Africare and contribute directly to Africa’s regeneration.”

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Darius Mans with South African Ambassador to the U.S. Ebrahim Rasool,
Event Mistress of Ceremonies Daphne Maxwell Reid and Civil Rights Activist Andrew Young

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Trumpeter Thaddeus Wilson performs a special tribute to the late Nelson Mandela at the 2014 Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner Gala

Africare was founded in 1970 in response to the devastation wrought in the Sahel by one of the worst droughts the Niger Delta had ever faced.  In 1971, as founding board members, Mr. Lucas and Dr. Kennedy reincorporated Africare in the District of Columbia.  Under their visionary leadership, Africare matured from working in one region of Niger with a budget of roughly $39,000, to engaging in hundreds of projects spanning 36 African countries over the past 44 years.  Today, Africare’s portfolio is valued at more than $200 million, spanning 17 countries.

“As Africare continues to grow and serve larger numbers of Africans in need, we always remember our inspirational and dedicated founders, their humble beginnings and their vision that takes us to communities that exist where the road ends,” Mans said.

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Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president emertia of Bennett College for Women, with guests

The Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner is held each year in memory of Bishop John T. Walker, the first African-American Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC and Africares longtime Board Chair.  Bishop Walker, who passed away 25 years ago this year, distinguished himself as an exemplar of peace, justice and interracial harmony.  The dinner plays an important role in enabling Africare to both broaden awareness about its work in Africa and to raise critically needed funds to deliver lifesaving services.  This years dinner was made possible through the generosity of ExxonMobil, Chevron, The African Development Bank and The Coca-Cola Company, as well as many others from the business community.

In 2010, Africare awarded the first Africare Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Nelson Mandela, its honorary chairman, for his perseverance and dedication to ending apartheid and bringing peace to South Africa and the world.  Zindzi Mandela, Nelson’s daughter, accepted the award on behalf of her father.

Source: Press release/Photo credit:

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