The Links, Incorporated
Leading with Excellence ~ Serving with Grace
For Immediate Release

February 26, 2013

Contact: Cassandra Webster
901-292-7505
communications@linksinc.org
www.linksinc.org

The Links, Incorporated Expands Global Presence in Africa with Support from The Coca-Cola Company

Delegation travels to West Africa for education and health initiatives and to induct Honorary Member, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


WASHINGTON – The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated are pleased to announce that a delegation of more than 50 members, representing 17 states and the District of Columbia, will visit West Africa February 27- March 9, to officially establish the organization’s programmatic presence in Liberia, West Africa. Co-sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, the organization’s service mission will expand its more than 50 year history of strengthening and empowering African communities. While in West Africa, the delegation will also visit sites in Ghana.

The delegation will tour three of the four Liberian schools newly adopted by The Links— the School for the Blind, Ann Sandell School and AME University. They will host a two-day Train-the-Trainer workshop for 25 Liberian teachers; dedicate The Links Maternal Waiting Home, built in partnership with Africare, as well as donate $42,000 to Africare for the construction of a second home; and explore sites that represent the extraordinary history and rich culture of West Africa. The significance of the journey will be heightened by the formal induction of Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as an Honorary Member of The Links, Incorporated.

"Because we are committed to the educational, health and cultural needs of those in the African community who reside in the motherland, The Links’ strategic efforts are being directed in a purposeful way to enrich the lives of women, children and families in Liberia," said Margot James Copeland, national president of The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated. "As one of the most successful democracies on the continent and the first liberated country south of the Sahara, the heritage of Liberia and Ghana, respectively, is vital to the history of progress of all people of African descent.

"The primary goal of this trip is to build meaningful and sustained relationships that will allow The Links to address critical issues facing the Liberian education and healthcare systems. Our desire to contribute to the formation of a positive, productive and culturally diverse global society, using our programmatic presence, knows no geographic bounds. We are thankful for the support of The Coca-Cola Company which enhances our ability to bring about transformative change for the betterment of our global community."

"The Coca-Cola Company shares The Links’ commitment to improving the quality of life in Africa and expanding opportunities for those who live there," said Ingrid Saunders Jones, chair of The Coca-Cola Company Foundation. "Our priority is to help build sustainable communities and to help local communities find innovative ways to meet their challenges. This initiative supports our global platforms related to education and fitness and nutrition."

The Links organization has a history of service to African nations. "Our first international effort began in 1962 when the Republic of Niger was awarded the organization’s first international gift, to help offset the cost of transporting prescription medicines that were being donated by American pharmaceutical companies," said Sharon U. Richardson, director of International Trends and Services for The Links, Incorporated. "Since then we have contributed funding for water wells in Mozambique and Zimbabwe; built, refurbished and donated educational materials for more than 60 schools in South Africa; and donated more than $100,000 for clean birthing kits in Uganda. Our ‘helping-hands’ approach provides for more personalized methods of assisting and improving the lives of women, children and men through long-term programs to empower - as well as through public policy leadership as we advocate for social justice."

The Links Foundation, Incorporated

The Links Foundation, Incorporated, the philanthropic arm of The Links, Incorporated, has made more than $25 million in charitable contributions since its founding in 1979. Working closely with its sponsors and supporters, The Links, Incorporated is focused on creating transformational programming and impacting lives in communities of color through Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, and Health and Human Services, to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities.

THE LINKS, INCORPORATED

The Links, Incorporated celebrates more than 65 years as a women's volunteer service organization committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. A premier international service organization with more than 12,000 members in 276 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, its legacy of friends providing services that change lives, established by the original circle of nine friends in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1946, is alive and well.

The members of The Links, Incorporated are influential decision-makers and opinion leaders. The Links, Incorporated has attracted many distinguished women who are individual achievers and who have made a difference in their communities and the world. They are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work towards a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership.

With more than 2 million service hours recorded in the past three years, members regularly contribute more than 500,000 documented service hours in their respective communities annually. For more information, visit www.linksinc.org.

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