The Links, Incorporated | Central Area | Detroit Chapter
The Links, Incorporated, founded in 1946, is an international organization of over 12,000 civic-minded women. It is a public service, non-partisan volunteer organization that includes 274 chapters in 42 states; the district of Columbia; Nassau, Bahamas; Frankfurt, Germany; and South Africa. The name "LINKS" symbolizes a chain of women in friendship, purpose and service. The mission of the organization is to promote and engage in educational, civic, and intercultural activities in order to enrich the lives of members and the larger community, and to work together toward achieving community goals.
Founded in 1951, The Detroit Chapter of the Links, Incorporated was the first of this distinguished African American women's organization established in the state of Michigan. At that time, there was limited access for African Americans to do broad community service works as volunteers. Much of the chapter's early civic work was included hands-on volunteer service such as making stuffed toys for patients at Detroit's Children's Hospital and cancer pads to supply patients through the Michigan Cancer Foundation, collecting and delivering magazines to patients at the Allen Park Veterans Hospital and making gift baskets for the senior residents at the Phyllis Wheatley Home.
Over the years, the Links hosted a 20 year series of luncheon fashion shows, the proceeds of which provided scholarships to minority students through the United Negro College Fund and funding support for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Urban League and NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Other projects included support of young African-American artists to showcase works of art from Detroit's 21 public schools. The exhibits are now a permanent part of the Detroit Public Schools calendar in collaboration with the Detroit Institute of Art.
The Detroit Chapter Links also hosted several fundraisers in the 1990's at the Detroit Historical Museum which benefited both the Detroit Historical Museum and the building campaign for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. As a result of these fundraisers, the Detroit Chapter of the Links donated $25,000 to the Charles H. Wright Museum which was the largest donation ever made to the Museum by a local African American organization.
In the 1990's, the Detroit Chapter focused its efforts on the enrichment of Detroit school children through field trips, a pen pal writing project with children on the Ivory Coast and a variety of other hands on experiences. The Detroit Chapter joined with the Greater Wayne County Links Chapter to implement the National Links three year pilot program entitled, "Links to Success Children Achieving Excellence". The Loving Elementary School in Detroit was the beneficiary where first through third grade students and their parents participated in instructional tutorial enrichment intervention programs. This collaborative effort between the two chapters and the Loving School was successful in bringing the school, students and parents and the community together to improve student achievement.
In the new millennium, the chapter continued with the Links to Success project and supported the National Links' health program with a "Walk a Thon" fundraiser. To celebrate the Detroit Chapter 50 years of service grants were made to the Simon House, the Detroit Public Library's Children section and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Foundation.
In 2002 the Detroit Links developed the award winning Umbrella Project titled "Linking Adolescent Students to Success" or LASS. The LASS project focuses on adolescent high school women to enhance their academic performance, increase their exposure to cultural activities in their community and provide them with positive role models. Individual chapter member are encouraged to use their talents and personal skills. The LASS project debuted at Dominican Catholic High School for girls in Detroit and is currently operates at the Detroit International Academy, an all-girls public school