Bowen Center

Humanitarian Awards

Bowen Center Humanitarian Awards medalThe Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Award is presented to individuals and organizations who provide exceptional leadership and unfailing dedication to community-based initiatives and to those in need.

Their efforts on the behalf of others epitomize the legacy of the late Emma L. Bowen. Previous honorees include New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Congressman Charles Rangel, best-selling author Terrie Williams, former Manhattan Borough president C. Virginia Fields, and the late Percy E. Sutton. The Humanitarian Awards Reception is an important fundraiser that enables the Bowen Center to continue our life-sustaining services, such as the Therapeutic Preschool, food pantry, mental health services for children and adults alike, and so much more.

Click here for 2020 Humanitarian Awards Information.

2020 Humanitarian Awards


Humanitarian Medal Honorees

Janice Huff, NBC 4 New YorkJanice Huff, Chief Meteorologist, NBC 4 New York: One of the nation’s most recognized and trusted weather forecasters, Janice Huff serves as Chief Meteorologist for NBC 4 New York, delivering weather reports for the station’s 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

A member of the New York State Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame, Ms. Huff has provided accurate and informative weather information to Tri-State viewers. In January 2020, Ms. Huff celebrated her 25th anniversary with NBC 4 New York and was inducted as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Ms. Huff has been regularly recognized for her professional contributions to broadcast journalism and to the field of meteorology. In addition to her induction into the New York State Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame, Ms. Huff was awarded the prestigious Allen B. Dumont Broadcaster of the Year Award from Montclair State University in 2015 and was recently inducted as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Known for her passion for children in foster care, Ms. Huff is the host of Wednesday’s Child, a quarterly adoption feature known for shining a bright spotlight on foster children and families. She has received numerous accolades for her work on Wednesday’s Child, including being honored by 1199 SEIU / Employer Child Care Corporation’s “5th Annual Care for Kids Gala” in 2011, for her dedication to children in the New York City area and to children around the world. The funds from the “Kids Gala” went directly to supporting education programs and services for children; also in 2011, Ms. huff was recognized at the “Family Focus Adoption Services (FFAS) Gala” for her work on behalf of adoptable children in the New York City area through “Wednesday’s Child;” and in 2012. Ms. huff was recognition for her dedication to foster care children at the New York City Court Appointed Special Advocates Spring Reception (CASA-NYC).” Huff works with CASA- NYC to help protect the needs and well-being of children in foster care, making sure that they are placed in safe permanent homes.

A mentor to young journalists throughout her career, Ms. Huff believes strongly in giving back to the community. She was awarded the McDonald’s “2011 Black Media Legends” award and was honored by McDonald’s as one of 24 esteemed ‘Black Media Legends’. Huff’s image appeared on McDonald’s 2011 Faces of Black History Poster as well as on food tray-liners throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Additional awards also include the YWCA of New York City’s 2008 “W” award; as well as the New York Chapter National Black Journalist Association’s “2007 Community Service Award;” the “2006 Golden Apple Award” from the New York City Chapter of American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT).

A native of Manhattan, Huff graduated from Florida State University at Tallahassee with a major in Meteorology. She is married and resides in New Jersey.

GOSO founder Mark L:. GoldsmithMark L. Goldsmith, Founder & CEO Emeritus, Getting Out and Staying Out: For more than 35 years, Mark L. Goldsmith was an in-demand cosmetic executive who rose through the ranks of some of the industry’s top companies including Coty, Revlon, Yves St. Laurent, Shiseido and Almay before starting his own bartering company, exchanging inventories and commodities for media.

A civic-minded businessman, Mr. Goldsmith first visited Rikers Island over 17 years ago as a volunteer “Principal for the Day” at the Horizon Academy. By the end of the day, correction officers approached him and asked what he was telling the students, while remarking that they couldn’t believe how intently the young men were listening to a white guy in a suit. He immediately saw the potential for success in these young men, and knew that if they received proper, practical, direction as well as tools including education and job readiness training, they could create stability in their lives upon their reentry into their communities.

While working out of a Starbucks, Mr. Goldsmith continued to use his experiences and successes in the corporate world to mentor young men who had been incarcerated until he was able to raise enough funding to open his first office in East Harlem. Since then, GOSO has established a robust reentry program, focusing on workforce development that features an educational unit run by the NYC Department of Education and supportive counseling and social services a delivered by masters of social work. The three E’s Education, Employment and Emotional well-being have remained the signature focus of the program from its onset.

Serving more than 1,000 young men every year, GOSO has become a leader in preventing justice involvement by collaborating with community partners, public defenders, and the courts to assist young men who have had contact with the criminal system.

GOSO now includes a paid internship to employment program that places young men in businesses throughout NYC. Since its advent, GOSO has helped more than 10,000 justice involved and formerly incarcerated young men. Their recidivism rate of the young men that they have served is under 15% – far lower than the national average of over 65% for similar young men 16-24 years of age.

Additionally, for the past three years, GOSO has overseen Stand Against Violence East Harlem (SAVE), a dedicated team that advances an anti-violence message that connects participants to supportive services, job training, employment opportunities, mental health services, as well as legal services, with the aim of reducing gun violence in East Harlem.

Mark Goldsmith retired from GOSO this year after many years of service and remains a Founder and CEO Emeritus. His motto at GOSO was always, “it’s all about the GUYS!”

Cynthia DiBartolo, ESQ.Cynthia DiBartolo, Founder & CEO, Tigress Financial Partners: Cynthia has over 30 years of accomplishment-laden practice working in finance. She spent more than two decades aligned with Fortune 500 companies, driving achievements in revenue growth, brand expansion and new offerings. Her ability to set the overall vision and strategy for a company propelled her career at Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney- Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Bear Stearns. Ms. DiBartolo’s impressive track record in sales, compliance and risk management contributed significantly to the firms’ profitability.

An out of the box thinker, Ms. DiBartolo is also credited as the visionary leader behind a joint venture plan between Smith Barney and Citicorp Investment Services to develop offerings for the Mass Affluent market segment in 2003. Under her leadership, the pilot produced superior sales results and a decision was made to integrate business units of Citicorp Investment Services with Smith Barney.

After battling head and neck cancer in 2009, Ms. DiBartolo founded Tigress Financial Partners, a woman owned and operated Financial Services Firm sensitive to people with disabilities. Tigress is a fully licensed investment bank, broker dealer and registered investment advisor dedicated to the principles of diversity and inclusion. Tigress offers Proprietary Research, Investment Banking, Sales & Trading, Capital Markets, Asset Management and Wealth Management services.

Ms. DiBartolo is committed to paying it forward. In addition to Tigress, Ms. DiBartolo provides her support and expertise to a number of business community and philanthropic organizations. Currently, she serves as Chairperson of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and was a former Member of the White House Business Council for the Obama Administration, and former Senior Advisor at the United Nations for Project China. Ms. DiBartolo serves as Chairperson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Steering Committee for Financial Services, under the appointment of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. She is the Founder & Chairperson of the Diversity Broker- Dealer & Asset Management Coalition, an advocacy and thought leadership group that strives for best practices in diversity and inclusion on behalf all certified MWVSVBE Broker-Dealers & Asset Managers. Ms. DiBartolo serves on the Board of Consultors for Villanova University, Charles Widger School of Law.

Ms. DiBartolo graduated with honors from Wagner College with a BA in Political Science and earned a Juris Doctorate from Villanova University, School of Law. Ms. DiBartolo holds FINRA Series 7, 24, 66, and 99 licenses. Ms. DiBartolo was admitted to the Connecticut, New Jersey and New York State Bars.

Community Leadership Award Honorees

Wendy Hilliard, Founder / CEO Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics FoundationWendy Hilliard, Founder & CEO, Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation: A trailblazer in Women’s, Olympic and Community Sports, Wendy is in the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame and was the first African American and gymnast to become the President of the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Ms. Hilliard was the first African American to represent the US in Rhythmic Gymnastics and competed in three World Championships and the 1984 Olympic Trials. She is a Master of Sport Coach and coached 1996 Olympian, Aliane Baquerot Wilson. In 1996 she founded the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, which has provided free and low-cost gymnastics for over 18,000 youth in Harlem, and in 2016, expanded to her hometown, Detroit.

Ms. Hilliard was an athlete representative on the US Olympic Committee and served as Athlete Chair on the Executive Committee of USA Gymnastics. Wendy has been a TV commentator for many sports and gymnastics events, including the Olympic Games. She has performed on numerous television shows and tours with the world’s top gymnasts and performed on Broadway. Wendy was Director of Sports for NYC2012, the U.S. Olympic Bid City, vying for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The US Olympic Committee Awarded her the “Rings of Gold” for her work with youth and Olympic Sports.

Ms. Hilliard graduated with honors from NYU. Board service includes; Armory Foundation (Track & Field), Women’s Sports Foundation – Presidents Committee, Black Women in Sports -Advisory Board, PowerPlay NYC- Advisory Board.

Ms. Hilliard resides in Harlem with her husband, Robert Mensah and sons Kennedy and Bailey.

"Doctor" Bob LeeBob Lee, Founder, CEO & President Make the Grade Foundation, WBLS On-Air Personality and Community Affairs Director: Bob began his career in 1979 after receiving his BA and MA in Communications from New York Institute of Technology, where he was a DJ for 88.7 WTNY Radio. He later advanced to Music Director, Program Director and eventually General Manager of WTNY Radio. In 1980, he joined WBLS for a one-year internship before moving on to KISS-FM for his start in commercial broadcasting. He would soon return to WBLS where he has had a rich and diverse career.

From 1986 to 1994, Mr. Lee was a DJ on the weekend edition of WBLS’s renowned program “The Quiet Storm” and for several years provided live reports on the morning show from various WBLS-sponsored community events. Over the years, he has interviewed musical greats including Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross, Jaheim, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Kenny “Baby Face” Edmonds, the O’Jays, Wynton Marsalis, Whitney Houston, P. Diddy and Jill Scott, among many others. He can be heard on air every day with his “Daily Dose” series tackling health issues which affect the community, as well as at midnight every Sunday through Thursday as the Doctor spins today’s R&B and classic soul until 5 a.m.

In addition to his on-air roles, Mr. Lee also serves as the Community Affairs Director for WBLS, where he has developed strong ties to many local and national politicians and public figures, including President Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor David Dinkins, and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión. Lee also currently hosts the weekly live television program “Open,” which broadcasts on BronxNet, a cable television station serving the Bronx and upper Manhattan. The program features news and topics affecting the Bronx community and also treats viewers to new and established musical guests.

Mr. Lee is a founder and board member of the Make The Grade Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides mentoring and aid to school children. Lee also helps college students interested in radio careers by serving as a mentor for “Table for Two,” a weekly music program which broadcasts from WLIU 88.1 FM radio in Brooklyn and which is staffed by interns from Long Island University. Finally, he is also involved in corporate speaking and promotional work for businesses with an interest in the welfare of the community.

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Dr. Blackstock is a Board-certified Emergency Medicine physician caring for patients on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as advocating for them in her role as Founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, which partners with healthcare and related organizations to address racial health disparities.

Dr. Blackstock was formerly an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Faculty Director for Recruitment, Retention and Inclusion in the Office of Diversity Affairs at NYU School of Medicine. She left NYU School of Medicine in December 2019 after 10 years on faculty to focus on Advancing Health Equity.

Her writing has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, the Washington Post and STAT News for the Boston Globe.

Dr. Blackstock received both her undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University.

2018 Humanitarian Awards



Bill T. JonesBill T. Jones (Artistic Director / Co-Founder / Choreographer), a multi-talented artist, choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer, has received major honors ranging from the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Visibility Award, 2013 National Medal of Arts to a 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award and Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. Mr. Jones was honored with the 2014 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, recognized as Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2010, inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009 and named “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000. His ventures into Broadway theater resulted in a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography in the critically acclaimed FELA!, the new musical co-conceived, co-written, directed and choreographed by Mr. Jones. He also earned a 2007 Tony Award for Best Choreography in Spring Awakening as well as an Obie Award for the show’s 2006 off-Broadway run. His choreography for the off-Broadway production of The Seven earned him a 2006 Lucille Lortel Award.

Mr. Jones began his dance training at the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY), where he studied classical ballet and modern dance. After living in Amsterdam, Mr. Jones returned to SUNY, where he became co-founder of the American Dance Asylum in 1973. In 1982 he formed the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company (then called Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company) with his late partner, Arnie Zane. Mr. Jones is currently Artistic Director of New York Lives Arts, an organization that strives to create a robust framework in support of the nation’s dance and movement-based artists through new approaches to producing, presenting and educating. For more information visit

His work in dance has been recognized with the 2010 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award; the 2005 Wexner Prize; the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement; the 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; and the 1993 Dance Magazine Award. His additional awards include the Harlem Renaissance Award in 2005; the Dorothy B. Chandler Performing Arts Award in 1991; multiple New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards for his works The Table Project (2001), The Breathing Show (2001), D-Man in the Waters (1989) and the Company’s groundbreaking season at the Joyce Theater (1986). In 1980, 1981 and 1982, Mr. Jones was the recipient of Choreographic Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1979 he was granted the Creative Artists Public Service Award in Choreography.

Mr. Jones was profiled on NBC Nightly News and The Today Show in 2010 and was a guest on the Colbert Report in 2009. Also in 2010, he was featured in HBO’s documentary series MASTERCLASS, which follows notable artists as they mentor aspiring young artists. In 2009, Mr. Jones appeared on one of the final episodes of Bill Moyers Journal, discussing his Lincoln suite of works. He was also one of 22 prominent black Americans featured in the HBO documentary The Black List in 2008. In 2004, ARTE France and Bel Air Media produced Bill T. Jones–Solos, highlighting three of his iconic solos from a cinematic point of view. The making of Still/Here was the subject of a documentary by Bill Moyers and David Grubin entitled Bill T. Jones: Still/Here with Bill Moyers in 1997. Additional television credits include telecasts of his works Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land (1992) and Fever Swamp (1985) on PBS’s “Great Performances” Series. In 2001, D-Man in the Waters was broadcast on the Emmy-winning documentary Free to Dance.

Mr. Jones’s memoir, Last Night on Earth, was published by Pantheon Books in 1995. An in-depth look at the work of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane can be found in Body Against Body: The Dance and Other Collaborations of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, published by Station Hill Press in 1989. Hyperion Books published Dance, a children’s book written by Bill T. Jones and photographer Susan Kuklin in 1998. Mr. Jones contributed to Continuous Replay: The Photography of Arnie Zane, published by MIT Press in 1999. Jones’s most recent book, Story/Time: The Life of an Idea, was published in 2014 by Princeton University Press.

In addition to his Company and Broadway work, Mr. Jones also choreographed Sir Michael Tippet’s New Year (1990) for Houston Grand Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. His Mother of Three Sons was performed at the Munich Biennale, New York City Opera and the Houston Grand Opera. Mr. Jones also directed Lost in the Stars for the Boston Lyric Opera. Additional theater projects include co-directing Perfect Courage with Rhodessa Jones for Festival 2000 in 1990. In 1994, he directed Derek Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain for The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN.

2018 Bowen Humanitarian Award recipient Dr. Melissa FreemanDr. Melissa M. Freeman, MD: Dr. Freeman is a native New Yorker, and the granddaughter of a slave. She was born and raised in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx. Her father, a Pullman Porter, was a great influence in her life. He introduced her to music. At an early age she began the study of piano. In later years, she severed as organist for her church. Dr. Freeman also developed an interest in classical music, which has continued throughout her life. Her father also instilled, in her, the significance of an education. He often talked to family and friends about the importance of his children obtaining an education. During her father’s travels, on the rails, he learned about the prestigious Music and Art High School, and recommended Dr. Freeman take the test for admission. At the age of 13, her last conversation with her father, before his death, was to tell him she had been accepted to the high school of Music and Art. While attending high school, Dr. Freeman excelled on the bass violin.

Her father had also expressed his desire for Dr. Freeman to attend Hunter College. As her father had hoped she went on to Hunter College where she made the decision to study medicine. Dr. Freeman received a B.A. degree from Hunter College, and continued her studies at Howard University College of Medicine, where she received her M.D. degree. After graduation, Dr. Freeman did her internship at Kings County Hospital, and ultimately completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Meadowbrook Hospital, and the Manhattan Veterans Administration Hospital.

In 1964 Dr. Melissa M. Freeman joined the staff of Mount Sinai-Beth Israel Clinic, in New York, for treatment of narcotic addicted individuals. She is one of the first doctors, and a pioneer in the treatment of Opioid addicted women. In addition, for over 30 years, Dr. Freeman has served the Harlem Community, in New York City, with a successful private practice in Internal Medicine. She was, and continues to be concerned about the disparities in treatment that exists among people of color.

Dr. Melissa M. Freeman has received much deserved recognition for her work in medicine over the years. In 2005 she was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame. In early 2017, Dr. Melissa M. Freeman was honored, by one of the Founders at Mount Sinai-Beth Israel, for her modality of treatment of Opioid addicted individuals. She was also honored for 53 years of uninterrupted service at Mount Sinai-Beth Israel Hospital. Over the years, she has received many awards and honors for her diligence and dedication in the medical care of community residents.

At the age of 92, Dr. Freeman continues to work in her Harlem, New York private practice and part-time at Mount Sinai-Beth Israel as Medical Director of the Methadone Clinic, treating over 400 patients for opioid addiction. Dr. Freeman’s love of classical music and medicine are what keep her pushing forward. When asked, “How long will you continue to practice?” Her response is, “As long as I have my facilities, and breathe in my body I will continue to care for and treat patients.”

Bowen Humanitarian Award recipient Richard SalgadoRichard Salgado, Philanthropist: Mr. Salgado is a well know sports personality. Known as “Big Daddy,” Rich is the owner of Coastal Advisors, which provides insurance policies as well as financial planning services to influential professional athletes. His clients include first round draft picks from the NFL as well as athletes, managers and coaches from the MLB, NHL. Mr. Salgado is a Super Bowl Correspondent for Fox News and Fox Business Network and has appeared on Bloomberg as well as News 12 Long Island. Mr. Salgado spends a great deal of time helping children, having established The Big Daddy Youth Football Camp in his hometown of New Hyde Park, NY along with his brother, Jimmy. Together, the two have created a non-contact football camp that teaches young players football fundamentals. The camp is visited by current and former NFL players including several members of the NFL Hall of Fame.

Mr. Salgado has also hosted several celebrity golf outings in support of the St. Jude Children’s Hospital, raising more than $1 million for the pioneering children’s hospital that specializes in research and treatments for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. His outings have rallied support from a “who’s who” in the world of sports including former New York Giants defensive lineman and “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, former MLB players Fred McGriff and Gary Sheffield, former New York Knicks player and Brooklyn Nets Coach Jason Kidd, and former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.

New York City Council member Mark LevineMark Levine, New York City Council Member: Council Member Mark Levine represents the 7th District in Upper Manhattan. Serving as the Chair of Council Committee on Health and as a member of the Progressive Caucus, he is a leader on many issues including housing, transportation, education, economic justice, and the environment.

Council Member Levine has been a lifelong advocate for addressing inequality in New York City, and just last year declared victory in his fight to get legal representation for low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court by passing landmark “Right to Counsel” legislation, the first of its kind in the nation.

Mark speaks three languages, including Spanish and Hebrew, and began his career as a bilingual math and science teacher in the South Bronx. He also went on to found the Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union which has provided over $25 million in loans to low-income New Yorkers in Upper Manhattan.

Mark is a long time Washington Heights resident with his wife, Ivelisse and their two sons, Alejandro and Daniel.

2016 Humanitarian Awards: In Photos

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.