After 50 years of helping dismantle the socioeconomic barriers that have hindered the educational growth of many New Yorkers, the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center came together May 3 to celebrate its accomplishments.
But the gathering, which featured a cocktail reception, live music and speakers, was more than a celebration. The fundraising gala, hosted at the legendary Alhambra Ballroom — an icon of Harlem’s jazzage, where artists like Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday once performed — also raised more than $39,000.
"I must say that I was humbled and extremely appreciative of all the support MEOC received for our 50th anniversary celebration,” said MEOC Director Anthony Watson.“It was filled with laughter, great stories and some impactful speeches.”
The proceeds, from donors such as the Borough of Manhattan Community College, SUNY University Center for Academic and Workforce Development and SUNY Central, will go toward the MEOC Student Emergency and Scholarship Fund.
The funds will help fuel MEOC’s mission of providing free scholastic and workforce-development programs to underprivileged adults determined to further their education and build their employment skills.
Since its founding, MEOC has helped more than 50,000 adults gain their high school equivalency diploma, go to college, learn English and earn certifications or licenses in a variety of employment fields.
“We are dedicated to building bridges to employment and better lives for our students as they pursue higher education and compete in today’s fast-changing economy and workforce,” said Watson. “We hope to continue impacting and serving our community for another 50 years."