Bowen Center

Humanitarian Awards

Bowen Center Humanitarian Awards medalThe Emma L Bowen Humanitarian Medal honors individuals who provide exceptional leadership and unfailing dedication to those in need. Their selfless efforts on behalf of others epitomize the legacy of the Bowen Center’s late founder, Mrs. Emma L. Bowen.

Previous honorees include Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones, NBC New York Meteorologist Janice Huff, Born This Way Foundation Co-Founder and President Cynthia Germanotta, Civil Rights Icon The Reverend Al Sharpton, New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins, Congressman Charles Rangel, Businessman and Philanthropist Mark Goldsmith, Opioid Specialist Dr. Melissa Freeman and the late Percy E. Sutton. Held annually, the Humanitarian Awards Gala is the biggest event of the year for the Bowen Center. Funds raised from the gala help to continue the Bowen Center’s life-sustaining services including its mental health services for children and adults alike, addiction treatment services, food pantry, and more.

Bowen Center’s Past


Humanitarian Medal Honorees

Humanitarian Medal Honoree Charlamagne Tha God
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Pat Jordan
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Rev. Al Sharpton
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Cynthia Germanotta
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Mark L. Goldsmith
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Janice Huff
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Cynthia Dibartolo
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Bill T. Jones
Humanitarian Medal Honoree David Dinkins
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Melissa Freeman
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Charlie Rangel
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Percy Sutton
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Virginia Fields
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Terrie Williams
Humanitarian Medal Honoree Richard Salgado

Community Leadership Honorees

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.

Community Leadership Award Honoree Wanda Matos
Community Leadership Award Honoree Luis Laboy
Community Leadership Award Honoree Bob Lee
Community Leadership Award Honoree Uché Blackstock
Community Leadership Award Honoree Wendy Hilliard
Community Leadership Award Honoree Hon. Adriano Espaillat
Community Leadership Award Honoree Mark Levine

Bowen Center Humanitarian Awards


2022 — Lume Studios

2023 gala video at Lume Studios

2021 — A Virtual Affair

2021 Bowen Gala play button

2020 — A Virtual Affair

2020 Bowen gala play button

2018 — Columbia University

Bowen Center Humanitarian Awards


Desire and Company logo

Emma L. Bowen

About Emma

Emma L. Bowen was a community activist, fighter for justice, founder and president of Black Citizens for a Fair Media (BCFM), and co-founder of the Foundation for Minority Interest in Media, and now known as the Emma L. Bowen Foundation, an outgrowth of BCFM. As a mental health professional and community activist in Upper Manhattan, Mrs. Bowen co-established the Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center, Inc. with William F. Hatcher in 1986. During her lifetime, Mrs. Bowen testified at the Federal Communications Commission on minorities and the media, she played the important role of spokesperson for numerous causes, and she was honored with awards for her significant contributions to community health and serving the needs of the mentally challenged. As a grandmother, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University and continued her work as an advocate for equality in the media and for mental health services, until her death in 1996. Ms. Bowen’s legacy endures. Because of her pioneering leadership, men and women of color occupy influential roles in American media, including writing, producing, directing, reporting, performing, and management. Today, thousands of families, adults, children, and senior citizens have access to the resources they need to live healthy lives.