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"Linked in Friendship, Connected in Service"

Who We Are

Our Founders

On the evening of November 9, 1946, Margaret Rosell Hawkins and Sarah Strickland Scott, two young Philadelphia visionaries, invited seven of their friends to join them in organizing a new type of inter-city club. This organizing meeting of The Links was not a spontaneous action. In 1945, Hawkins had conceived the idea of a group of clubs composed of friends along the eastern seaboard and had spent many hours with Scott in thinking, planning and discussing the possibilities of such an endeavor. The two women envisioned an organization that would respond to the needs and aspirations of Black women in ways that existing clubs did not. It was their intent that the club would have a threefold aim-civic, educational, and cultural.

Based on these aims, the club would implement programs, which its founders hoped would foster cultural appreciation through the arts; develop richer inter-group relations; and help women who participated to understand and accept their social and civic responsibilities.

Besides the two founders, the original members of the Philadelphia Club were Frances Atkinson, Katie Greene, Marion Minton, Lillian Stanford, Myrtle Manigault Stratton, Lillian Wall, and Dorothy Wright. The club elected Margaret Rosell Hawkins as president, Sarah Strickland Scott as vice president, Myrtle Manigault Stratton as recording secretary, Frances Atkinson as corresponding secretary, and Dorothy Wright as treasurer.

The Links, Incorporated

The Links, Incorporated is an international nonprofit devoted to supporting the culture and economic survival of African Americans and others of African ancestry.

  • One of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations, established in 1946.
  • Current membership: 12,000 professional women of color in 275 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
  • Extraordinary women contribute more than 500,000 documented hours of community service annually.
  • Fivefold program focus: national trends and services, the arts, services to youth, international trends and services, and health and human services. Programs are implemented through strategies that include public information and education, economic development, and public policy campaigns.

Western Reserve (OH) Chapter

The Western Reserve (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated was chartered in 1987. Like those in the national organization, the founding women shared interests and enthusiasm for community service – they were determined to make a difference in the Greater Cleveland community. Tens of thousands of hours from chapter members have been devoted to mentoring children, instituting dialogues with teens, and conducting workshops and clinics that benefit women and their families to address concerns in health, education, social and economic disparities. In 2001, the Western Reserve (OH) Chapter launched its signature fundraising event. The Masked Mardi Gras Biennial Benefit supports its philanthropic arm ― The Links, Incorporated Foundation — and the Western Reserve Chapter’s continuation of charitable programs. Today, the Western Reserve (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, with more than 50 active members, celebrates a rich history of over 30 years of programs, service, and outreach.

Western Reserve (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated © 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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