On March 30, 1950, the Cincinnati (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated became the 17th chapter inducted into the Links Chain of Friendship.
The 12 charter members—Margaret Clarke (President), Ruth Hubbard Jackson (Vice President), Camille Hood (Secretary), Odessa Simms (Treasurer), Laura Lovelace (Parliamentarian), Johnnie Mae Berry (Chaplain), Vivian Beamon, Reber Cann, Ethel Caliman Deal, Vera Edwards, Evelyn Jones, and Mary Weatherly—were professional women who understood the need to assume civic, cultural and social responsibilities.
From its inception, chapter members were fully engaged in national endeavors serving in a multitude of leadership roles. Margaret Clarke, served as co-chair of the national membership committee where she established the formation for the Initiation Service; Vivian Beamon served as the fourth National President and is credited for the adoption of Fine Arts as a programmatic focus and developing the concept of The Links, Foundation and Margaret Hough served as the first National Director of the Arts, followed years later by Yvonne Robinson.
However, the chapter’s greatest impact has been on the local level. For more than seventy years, members have worked to fulfill the Chapter’s mission to give service to humankind and improve the quality of life for people in the communities where we live and the people we serve.
Over the years, signature programs of The Cincinnati (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated have left an indelible impact upon the Cincinnati area reaching thousands through untold hours of service in addition to more than $1.2 million in chapter fundraising efforts donated to various causes and initiatives.
The initial 1950’s “Card Party” event raised funds for Camp Joy, the first integrated camp for children in Cincinnati. Additionally, fashions from the couture Ebony Fashion Fair were presented at an annual event with proceeds benefitting collegiate scholarships and local community service agencies. The chapter is most proud of its singular effort to build the first Links School in Africa.
Notable educational and enrichment programs established by The Cincinnati Chapter of The Links, Incorporated include: the College Jamboree and career conference, which for fifteen years resulted in the development of community leaders through repeated student participation and significant attitudinal changes; sponsored lectures by Hale Woodruff and David Driskell to local black youth; student-led art exhibits at Expo ’70 and the subsequent Focus ’88 event where professional artists from across the country exhibited their work.
The chapter later initiated the Young Achievers umbrella project which offered academic course work and cultural field trips. In 2003, the ongoing national-award winning Cincinnati (OH) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated Youth Docent Program was designed and implemented for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and continues to this day. Additional present day signature programs include: The Girls’ Conference, an annual event focusing on financial, nutritional, personal and physical health and the Links Leadership Academy for Girls which offers a multi-year experience for high school girls to develop into strong women leaders.
With an exemplary record of philanthropy both locally and internationally, the Cincinnati (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated continues to build upon its rich legacy of lifting and leading with love in the community. Each year, the Chapter renews its commitment to address needs in the community remaining Linked in Friendship and Connected in Service.