DAVIE – Celebrating women dedicated to community service, the North Broward Chapter of The Links will celebrate its 13th Annual Unity Luncheon on Saturday, April 5 at Davie's Signature Grand.
NBC Links, as it is more commonly known, is a nonprofit organization comprising women of color who are dedicated to community service. The international organization has a membership of more than 11,000 professional women in 273 chapters in the U.S., Germany, South Africa and the Bahamas.

At this year's luncheon, gospel star Vickie Winans will headline the event, which is themed “The Passion of Purpose: To Aspire and Inspire.’’

Popular gospel show host Bobby Jones will serve as special guest emcee.

During her stellar career, Winans has scored six Grammy nominations, eight Stellar Awards, and an NAACP Image Award.

Guithele Ruiz-Nicolas, the event's co-chairperson, said NBC Links is thrilled to have Winans as its guest entertainer.

“We really wanted someone uplifting to go along with our theme this year,’’ Ruiz-Nicolas said. “She's inspiring to all of us.’’

NBC Links will also present Linda Carter, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Broward, with a 2008 President's Award, the NBC Links' highest award given annually to a local community leader. 

Founded in 1984, the Community Foundation of Broward County identifies community needs and fosters partnerships with civic leaders, local and national organizations and other grant makers. Carter has been a champion of foster care issues, particularly the challenges faced by young adults ages 18 to 23.

“We selected Linda Carter as this year’s honoree particularly for her decade-long leadership and advocacy on the issue of youth who age out of the foster care system at 18 without housing, jobs or a transitional support system,’’ said Kathy Eggleston, the NBC Links president. “Linda was the catalyst for the Community Foundation’s adoption of this issue as one of its major long-term initiatives.’’

Eggleston said Carter and other leaders from the Community Foundation of Broward are planning to create safe, transitional housing and support for foster kids.

“[She] has worked tirelessly to raise awareness that nearly half of all children aging out of foster care experience homelessness or unemployment nationally.’’ 

Ruiz-Nicolas said Carter is serving as a voice for foster children.

“She has been tremendous in terms of her leadership,’’ Nicolas said. “She's helping to create a system where [foster kids] can transition into adulthood and not be just left on their own.’’

In addition to foster care issues, NBC Links touches a variety of areas in the community. The organization, founded in 1995, now provides several services that include sponsoring exhibits of local artists, providing field trips to the opera and theatre for disadvantaged youth, providing free SAT prep courses for students, and supporting local non-profit organizations that provide services to the Caribbean community.

“Links is invested in a number of community service programs,’’ Nicolas said.

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IF YOU GO:

WHAT: The North Broward Chapter of The Links will celebrate its 13th Annual Unity Luncheon

WHEN: Saturday, April 5, 2008.
Silent auction begins at 10 a.m.
Luncheon begins at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Signature Grand, 6900 W. State Road 84, Davie.

COST: $50 per ticket. Tickets must be purchased in advance from any NBC Links member.

CONTACT: www.northbrowardlinks.org.