The American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) awarded their 2019 International Humanitarian Award in New York to recipients Dr. The Honorable Usain Bolt, 8 Times Olympic Gold Medalist & World Record Holder and Dr. The Honorable Glenford Christian, Founder & Chairman of Cari-Med Group of Companies. The awards were presented at the 2019 Hummingbird Gala on Friday, October 25, 2019 at Cipriani 42nd Street, NYC.
The honorees were nominated by the AFJ Board of Directors to highlight their impact in philanthropy, their successes and significant contributions to economic development in Jamaica. The event showcases the AFJ’s work in Jamaica and celebrates the achievements of these two extraordinary philanthropists. This year the annual Hummingbird Gala welcomed over 450 guests with an additional 50 joining the Afterparty. The AFJ is proud to announce the event raised over $500,000 USD.
The evening began with a cocktail reception, followed by a beautiful silent auction and delicious four-course dinner.
The evening highlighted speeches from The Most Honorable Prime Minister Andrew Holness, ON. MP, AFJ Directors, and the night’s honorees. The honorees spoke passionately about their newest philanthropic initiatives: Dr. Glen Christian is leading the charge in developing a STEM Centre at MICO University College and Dr. Usain Bolt is committed to building out computer labs in rural schools, opening a world of opportunity to young children.
Exciting entertainment was provided by Grammy Award Winning Artist Toots and the Maytals, Christopher Martin, and DJ Max Glazer at this prestigious midtown Manhattan venue. Usain Bolt currently holds the world records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m and the three fastest 100m times ever run at 9.58, 9.63 and 9.69 seconds. On the world all-time list, he holds five of the top ten times ever in the 200m.
As part of the Jamaican 4x100m team, he broke three world and Jamaican team records, having seven fastest 4x100m times in history.
In 2011, The Usain Bolt Foundation was founded and is dedicated to a legacy for happy children; its goal is to enhance the character of children through educational and cultural development as they live their dreams. The Usain Bolt Foundation supports the Jamaica Special Olympics, hosts an annual Christmas Treat in Sherwood Content, and has funded The Walkers Place of Safety and other worthwhile projects.
In 1986, Glen Christian started his own pharmaceutical distribution company, CariMed Limited, with just three employees. Today, he heads the Cari-Med Group comprised of three companies which are industry leaders in pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution, as well as distribution of fast moving Consumer Goods.
Mr. Christian established the Cari-Med Foundation with its mandate to positively impact early childhood education, health care, and community building. Over the years, the Foundation has contributed to numerous health initiatives at hospitals across Jamaica, including the Hope Institute, an institution that offers palliative and curative care for cancer patients. The first major initiative of the Foundation was the building of a state-of-the- art Infant School in a rural community: the Evelyn Mitchell Infant School and Centre of Excellence. It was designated the first early childhood centre of excellence by the Ministry of Education in Jamaica. This template was replicated in an innercity community in Kingston with the construction of the Union Gardens Infant School, with support from a coalition of private and public sector organizations.
The annual New York Gala is an opportunity for the diaspora community, supporters and friends with an interest in Jamaica to give back to Jamaicans in the areas of education, healthcare and economic development. The AFJ Galas have attracted a diverse and aware audience of friends of Jamaica. Honorees have included Albert Dwoskin, A.J. Dwoskin & Associates, Patricia Chin, VP Records, Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia, Gary “Butch” Hendrickson, National Continental Baking Company, Dennis Lalor, ICWI, Kenny Benjamin, Guardsman Group, Denis O’Brien, Digicel, Ralph & Ricky Lauren, Harry Belafonte and numerous others. To date, the AFJ has presented grants of over US $14M. The AFJ demonstrates the power of collaboration and support to help engage people from underserved communities.