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Black Tie International:
 Shared Interest 19th Anniversary Awards Gala


Harry Belafonte


Harry Belafonte, South African Pop Band Freshlyground and Father Michael Lapsley To Be Honored at Shared Interest’s Annual Awards Gala

Shared Interest, a leading New York-based nonprofit social investment fund, will honor award-winning singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte, South African pop band Freshlyground, and freedom fighter and social justice activist Father Michael Lapsley at its 19th Anniversary Awards Gala on Monday, March 18, at 6:00PM at Gotham Hall New York City.

JP Morgan, a leading global financial services firm, will receive the Corporate Award at the gala.

Distinguished U.S. and African leaders and top diplomats will gather for this celebratory annual event that recognizes leaders for their commitment and ongoing work towards economic democracy and development in southern Africa. The black-tie affair will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and dessert.

“On the 19th anniversary of Shared Interest and South African democracy, we are extremely proud to recognize these extraordinary honorees for their commitment to building a just, peaceful and prosperous South Africa,” said Donna Katzin, executive director of Shared Interest. “Their leadership is helping to transform the lives of economically disenfranchised South Africans today, and chart a path for the next generation.”

Award-winning artist and activist Harry Belafonte will receive the Lifetime of Social Justice and Leadership Award for his lifelong commitment to working towards justice in South Africa and longstanding support for Shared Interest’s work. Freshlyground, a chart-topping multiracial South African Afropop band will be honored with the Voices of the Next Generation Award. Freshlyground, which collaborated with Shakira on the FIFA World Cup anthem "Waka Waka", will be recognized for its efforts in giving back to the community through its social outreach programs and music.

Father Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest and freedom fighter, will receive the Promoting Healing, Reconciliation and Hope Award for his life’s work in the healing of memories of South Africans affected by apartheid – enabling victims and perpetrators to reconcile and reclaim their humanity. Father Lapsley’s interpersonal and deeply spiritual practice complements Shared Interest’s work towards economic reconciliation and reconstruction in Southern Africa.

The Awards Dinner will honor JP Morgan with the Visionary Investment in South Africa’s Communities Award for its work in the field of impact investment and philanthropy. At the awards gala, Shared Interest will highlight JP Morgan’s transformative initiatives and the financial organization’s guidance and support for Shared Interest’s guarantee fund to move banks to extend credit to black South Africans once considered “unbankable”.

The evening performance will feature Afropop music from honoree Freshlyground. Following the gala, Freshlyground will perform at an after party geared towards young professionals to support Shared Interest’s Next Generation Campaign, which aims to catalyze investment in South and Southern Africa’s underserved communities for decades to come. The After Party will be held from 9:30pm- midnight at Gotham Hall.

Caroline Clarke, Executive Editor of BLACK ENTERPRISE and host of BE Business Report, will serve as Evening Host of the gala. This year’s major corporate sponsor is South African Airways.

This year’s Event Chairs are Eddie Bergman, executive director of Africa Travel Association, and Tim Smith, senior vice president at Walden Asset Management. Honorary Chairs are The Honorable David and Mrs. Joyce Dinkins; Consul General and Mrs. George Monyemangene; and H.E. Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool and Ms. Rosieda Shabodien.

The Gala host committee includes: Alan Altschuler; Penny Andrews; Michael Armstrong; Karen & Philip Berry; Jean Carey Bond; Alan Bonilla; Sharon Davison; Rev. Canon Alan Dennis; Jenny & Mark Hannegan; Anne Hess & Craig Kaplan; Daniel Leader; Sylvia & Byron Lewis; Don Lowery; Anne & Vincent Mai; Pamela Palanque North; Ruby Sprott; and Sthu Zungu

For ticket information, please visit  or call COMPASS EVENTS at 212-843-5750 or .

 Individual gala tickets begin at $500, table packages begin at $5,000. After Party tickets are available separately for $100.


ABOUT SHARED INTEREST: Shared Interest’s mission is to mobilize the resources for Southern Africa's economically disenfranchised communities to sustain themselves and build equitable nations. Since Shared Interest began in 1994, its loan guarantees and technical support have benefited more than two million black South Africans – the majority of them women. Shared Interest has never lost a cent of its investors’ interest or principal.


joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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