With help from generous contributions from the greater Madison community and beyond, the Madison Metropolitan Chapter of The Links, Incorporated have been able to award more than $175,000 in scholarships, U.S. Savings Bonds, and bookstore gift cards for deserving students over the past 25-plus years. This Saturday, Nov. 10, they will host their 9th Annual Community Recognition and Scholarship Jazz Brunch, an important fundraiser those scholarships, but also a chance to honor four individuals and two organizations for their tremendous contributions to the greater Madison community.

“The Jazz Brunch is an important fundraiser for us to raise money for scholarships for students,” Corinda Rainey-Moore, the recording secretary for The Links and the fundraising chair for the Jazz Brunch, tells Madison365. “So far, we’ve given away $175,000 in scholarships and we’re looking to continue to do that and to increase that.”

Dr. Tracy Downs

The event, which will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Ave., benefits local, talented students of African American descent who aspire to higher education. But it is also a chance for The Links to recognize people in the community who are doing great work in each of The Links facet areas: services to youth, health care, national trends, international trends and civic engagement and the arts. On Saturday, those honorees will include Kaleem Caire, Dr. Tracy Downs, Dr. Debbie Jones, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison-area Urban Ministry and County Executive Joe Parisi.

“We are very excited about our honorees this year. We know that there are many, many people in this community doing great work so once you’ve been nominated for a facet area, you can’t be nominated again,” Rainey-Moore says. “But you can be nominated for different areas.”

The Madison Metropolitan Chapter of The Links, Incorporated (The Links) is a civic group that was first formed in Madison back in 1985.

“We do many different initiatives all year-round. The funds raised at this event go towards scholarships but we do do activities in the community all year round so we let people know that you can support The Links in a number of ways,” Rainey-Moore says.

Kaylahn Jones, a past scholarship winner and senior at Hamilton University, will be one of the speakers at the event.

What’s Rainey-Moore’s favorite part of the Annual Community Recognition and Scholarship Jazz Brunch?

“Every year, we try to bring one of our students back who received one of our scholarships to talk about what that scholarship has meant to them in terms of their opportunity to continue their education,” Rainey-Moore says. “I really love that.”

This year, Kaylahn Jones, a past scholarship winner and senior at Hamilton University who is planning on going on to medical school, will be a speaker at the event.

“For me, having a speaker like Kaylahn really brings everything full circle. Sometimes, you give money away to students and you never know the impact it has on them. This is a way for us to see and hear the impact that we are having on young people and it’s also an opportunity to showcase the students and their careers and their opportunities,” Rainey-Moore says. “Really, that’s what it’s all about – raising funds so that these students can continue their education because we know that finances are oftentimes a big barrier to continuing education and we try to do our part in removing that.”

Proceeds from the Jazz Brunch will benefit the Chapter to award scholarships which The Links will present to students at their annual African-American Student Recognition Program at Madison College in May, another one of their signature events that honors outstanding students and parent volunteers in the greater Madison school district attendance area. This is one of their most important student-related endeavors where the Madison Links present almost 1,000 certificates of recognition to K-12 African-American students — elementary, middle, and high school — in the local area upon recommendation by their teachers.

The Madison Links at their annual African-American Student Recognition Program at Madison College

For the first time in the history of the event, The Links will be hosting a silent auction at the Annual Community Recognition and Scholarship Jazz Brunch.

“We have lots of great things that will be auctioned off like tickets to a performance at the Overture Center, overnight stay at the Crowne Plaza [Hotel], we have homemade quilts,” Rainey-Moore says.

Folks still looking to get tickets can go to the website or contact any member of The Links.

“This is a great fundraiser. The brunch is always great food. We will have great music, too,” says Rainey-Moore.

“This is also a great opportunity to meet people and to network with folks that you may have wanted to contact or maybe folks in the community whom you had no idea were doing things,” adds Rainey-Moore. “Beyond helping students with scholarships, it’s a great opportunity to find out what is happening in your community and figuring out exactly where you may what to plug into.”

For more information or for tickets to the 9th Annual Community Recognition and Scholarship Jazz Brunch,click here.


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