Humanitarian Awards — A Virtual Affair
The Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Award is presented to individuals and organizations who provide exceptional leadership and unfailing dedication to communities and individuals in need.
Their efforts on the behalf of others epitomize the legacy of our founder, the late Mrs. Emma L. Bowen. Previous honorees include New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Congressman Charles Rangel, Tony Award winning choreographer Bill T. Jones, 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.
This year’s event will be a “Virtual Affair” featuring many of the key elements that always makes our gala a very special evening.
Hon. David N. Dinkins 106th Mayor, City of New York, Bill T. Jones Tony Award-Winning Choreographer, and the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center Invite you to celebrate our 2020 Honorees!
Hon. Mayor David N. Dinkins / Bill T. Jones
(previous Humanitarian Award winners)
2020 Humanitarian Awards
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.
Mark 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.
Mr. Goldsmith served as an advocate for criminal justice reform at a recent meeting with the top reentry organizations at the White House that led to the successful bi-partisan passage of the Criminal Justice Reform Act (Step One). He has been recognized for his decades of leadership and stalwart commitment to using his life experiences to help young people stay out of the criminal justice system. He is the recipient of the Encore Purpose Prize, The Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and Mutual of America’s Community Partnership Award.
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!”
Founder & CEO
Tigress Financial Partners
Cynthia DiBartolo 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
Founder & CEO
Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation
Wendy Hilliard is a trailblazer in Women’s, Olympic and Community Sports. She 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.
Founder, CEO & President Make the Grade Foundation, WBLS On-Air Personality and Community Affairs Director
Bob Lee 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.
Uché Blackstock, MD
Founder & CEO, Advancing Health Equity
Dr. Uché 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.
2020 Humanitarian Awards
Hon. Charles Rangel
Dr. Melissa Freeman
Hon. Percy Sutton
Hon. Virginia Fields
Hon. Mark Levine
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.