Congratulations to the Topeka (KS) Chapter of the Links, Inc. for being selected as 2018 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Topeka Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals at its annual National Philanthropy Day celebration Nov. 8. Links was nominated by The Library Foundation. This event recognizes and pays tribute to contributions that organizations and the people active in the philanthropic community have made within their communities.
Links was created more than 60 years ago and is a not-for-profit volunteer organization committed to “enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry”. Last year, representatives from Links contacted The Library Foundation about their desire to support Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. They said this program was a way to help children in Topeka who might not have the opportunity to go to pre-school or who do not have many books in their homes. They not only gave the foundation a gift to support registering 50 children to participate in Imagination Library for a year, but also committed to a continuing effort to support this ongoing program.
Their ongoing support of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and United Way of Greater Topeka much needed funds to bring Imagination Library to the children in Topeka and Shawnee County. In an effort to help every child be ready for kindergarten, this program promotes early childhood literacy giving free age appropriate books to children from birth to age five. The community pays for postage and the books. Each month a book along with caregiver reading tips are mailed to the child’s home.
Links partners with many organizations and businesses to help them deliver transformational programing. One of their biggest philanthropic efforts in partnership with FHL Bank is providing college scholarships to local high school graduates. Their commitment is to help close the achievement gap for these students. Their goal is to provide $5,000 to six students for a total of $30,000 a year for the scholarship program.
Not only does Links fund the scholarship program and Imagination Library but other programs in our community. They volunteer at McClure Elementary School mentoring students before, during and after school. As a way to motivate others, they started Sister Citizens Academy mentoring professional women into leadership and encouraging community engagement.