2020 Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Awards Announcement

Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center

to Host “A Virtual Affair” Honoring 2020

Humanitarian Medal Honorees &

Community Leadership Awardees

Janice Huff, Mark Goldsmith and Cynthia DiBartolo

to receive acclaimed humanitarian medal named for

Harlem’s leading community-based mental health organization


HARLEM, NY — Tuesday, August 25, 2020 — The Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center, the Harlem-based nonprofit that has empowered thousands of individuals and families to effectively and productively cope with mental health illness for over three decades, today announced the recipients of its distinguished Humanitarian Medal and Community Leadership awards. The awards will be presented during a very special online gala in their honor on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. “A Virtual Affair” is being co-chaired by the Hon. David N. Dinkins and Tony Award-Winning Choreographer Bill T. Jones, both previous Humanitarian Award recipients, and is being sponsored by Harlem’s Riverton Square, home to the Honorable David N. & Joyce Dinkins Riverton Community Center.

The Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Medal recipients for 2020 are

  • Janice Huff, NBC 4 New York Chief Meteorologist, who in addition to providing accurate weather forecasts for New Yorkers for the past 25-years, has been a passionate supporter of New York City foster children;
  • Mark Goldsmith, Founder of Getting Out and Staying Out, a citywide nonprofit that has helped more than 10,000 formerly incarcerated and justice-involved young men access education, achieve emotional well-being and secure meaningful employment.
  • Cynthia DiBartolo, Founder and CEO of Tigress Financial Partners, whose commitment to “paying it forward” led to the establishment of a foundation providing financial aid and advocacy for neck cancer screening and early detection.

The Humanitarian Medal was established to honor individuals and organizations that provide exceptional leadership and unfailing dedication to those in need. Their efforts on behalf of others epitomize the legacy of Bowen Center founder, the late Mrs. Emma L. Bowen. Previous honorees include opioid specialist Dr. Melissa Freeman, best-selling author Terrie Williams, US Congressman Charles Rangel and prominent Civil Rights activist and lawmaker the late Hon. Percy E. Sutton.

“Our inspiring honorees are responsible for helping thousands of individuals overcome challenges on the way to leading productive lives,” said Patricia C. Jordan, Bowen Center Board Chair. “In their own way, each honoree represents the essence of Mrs. Bowen in every way possible. Emma would be enormously proud of this wonderful group of individuals.”

The Emma L. Bowen Community Leadership Award is presented to individuals and organizations whose dedication to their community has been invaluable. Recipients lead by example and work towards the betterment of their communities.

  • Wendy Hilliard: A trailblazer in women’s Olympic and community sports, Ms. Hilliard has provided free and low-cost gymnastics for over 18,000 urban youth in New York City and Detroit through the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation since 1996;
  • “Doctor” Bob Lee: In addition to spinning the very best R&B and classic soul on New York radio since the mid-1980’s on WBLS, where he also serves as the Director of Community Affairs, Bob Lee founded Make the Grade Foundation, to facilitate and encourage academic achievement through community programs—tutoring, mentoring and motivating young students, as well as funding.
  • Uché Blackstock, MD: A Board-certified Emergency Medicine physician who cares for patients on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and serves as an advocate in her role as Founder & CEO of Advancing Health Equity, which partners with healthcare and related organizations to address racial health disparities.

Bowen Center Executive Director Thomas Haggerty said, “In addition to their extraordinary professional achievements, Wendy Hilliard, Bob Lee and Uché Blackstock have each gone above and beyond to help strengthen their communities. We couldn’t be prouder to recognize these outstanding individuals.”

Lead Sponsor
Built by Metropolitan Life insurance Company in 1947, the historic Riverton Square is comprised of 1,229 apartments in seven buildings surrounding an expansive green space. Soon after opening, it became known as a bastion of Harlem middle-class life, and over the years has been home to high-profile residents including jazz pianist Billy Taylor, HUD Secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr., State Court of Appeals Judge Fritz W. Alexander, Motown Records VP Suzanne de Passe and Clifford L. Alexander Jr., Secretary of the Army under President Jimmy Carter. In 2018, a newly established community center was dedicated to one of Riverton’s most famous residents, NYC Mayor David N. Dinkins. Today, the complex remains an affordable middle-income residential community owned by A&E Real Estate.

A&E CEO Douglas Eisenberg said, “We’re extremely proud to lead the group of sponsors honoring the inspiring individuals being honored with the Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Medal and Community Leadership Award. And we are equally proud to support the Bowen Center’s mission to provide comprehensive community-based services to the residents of Harlem and beyond.”

The Virtual Affair Schedule
The Bowen Center’s virtual broadcast will kick-off at 6:30 p.m. with a “Red Carpet” preview event, sponsored by Riverton Square and featuring the music of harpist Alfrae Johnson-Ragins. The “Virtual Affair” gala will launch at 7pm, hosted by WBLS on-air personality “Doctor” Bob Lee, an honoree, featuring the awards presentation, Bowen Center video documentary, including comments from successful clients, and music from the Willie Mack Jazz Ensemble.

For further information on the Humanitarian Awards, including bios on all the honorees please visit https://bowencsc.org/humanitarianawards

About Emma L. Bowen
Emma L. Bowen was a mother, community activist and fighter for justice who was always concerned about the well-being of her neighbors as well as her community. When Mrs. Bowen learned that the City of New York sought to open a community-based mental health facility without input from community members, she partnered with the late William F. Hatcher to bring together community representatives to establish the non-profit organization that would become the Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center, Inc., later renamed the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center, after Mrs. Bowen’s passing in 1996.

About the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center
The Bowen Center serves over 30,000 clients annually through its therapeutic preschool for children with behavioral and developmental issues; outpatient mental health services for children and adolescents; programs for adults & seniors with mental health and dependency recovery; a twenty-bed residential chemical abuse recovery facility and a food pantry program that serves over 21,000 packages of food annually.

The Emma L. Bowen Community Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community-based organization that is licensed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York State Office of Mental Health, New York State Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services, and New York State Department of Education.