NEW YORK, March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In a celebratory affair, Shared Interest, a nonprofit social investment fund serving Southern Africa, honored on Mar. 18, award-winning singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte , South African band Freshlyground, and social justice activist Father Michael Lapsley at its 19th Anniversary Awards Gala at New York City's Gotham Hall.
J.P. Morgan, a leading global financial services firm, received the Corporate Award at the gala.
Some 300 distinguished U.S. and African leaders and top diplomats gathered for the annual black-tie affair. The gala raised funds to support Shared Interest's mission. Donna Katzin, executive director of Shared Interest, told gala attendees that Shared Interest has built a $14 million guarantee fund, benefiting nearly 2.2 million "hard working, hopeful South Africans".
Harry Belafonte received the Lifetime of Social Justice and Leadership Award. In accepting his award, Belafonte recalled his mentors in the pursuit of justice who helped shape his social activism, including Dr. Martin Luther King and actor Paul Robeson. Belafonte said one of the joys of an artist was understanding his responsibility of being a "gatekeeper of truth".Father Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest and freedom fighter, received the Promoting Healing, Reconciliation and Hope Award for his life's work in the healing of memories of South Africans affected by apartheid – enabling victims and perpetrators to reconcile and reclaim their humanity. Freshlyground, a chart-topping multiracial South African band, was honored with the Voices of the Next Generation Award, for their ongoing efforts to give back to the community through its social outreach programs and concerts. John Coulter , J.P. Morgan's Senior Country Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa, accepted the Visionary Investment in South Africa's Communities Award on behalf of J.P. Morgan. J.P. Morgan was recognized for its focus on investments towards the most vulnerable people in Africa through strategic partnerships, and support for sustainable programs with measurable impact. Caroline Clarke , host of Black Enterprise Business Report, was the evening host. This year's major corporate sponsors are South African Airways, Merck and Black Entertainment Television. Gala corporate partners are Nielsen and Johnson & Johnson. Event Chairs were Eddie Bergman , executive director of Africa Travel Association, and Tim Smith , senior vice president at Walden Asset Management. Honorary Chairs are The Honorable David and Mrs. Joyce Dinkins; Consul General and Mrs. George Monyemangene; and H.E. Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool and Ms. Rosieda Shabodien. www.sharedinterest.org SOURCE Shared Interest