On the evening of November 9, 1946, Margaret Hawkins and Sarah Scott, two young Philadelphia matrons, invited seven of their friends to join them in organizing a new type of inner-city club. The two women envisioned an organization that would respond to the needs and aspirations of African-American women in ways that existing clubs did not.
Those co-founders embraced a threefold purpose for The Links. The members would contribute to the civic, educational and cultural milieu and this direction persists today. Based on these purposes, The Links would implement programs which its founders hoped would foster cultural appreciation through the arts, through development of richer inter group relations, and through the participation of women in social and civic responsibilities.
The first National Assembly was held in Philadelphia in 1949. Delegates were present from Atlantic City, Baltimore, Central New Jersey, Petersburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Raleigh, Saint Louis, Wilmington, Delaware, and Wilson Rocky Mount-Tarboro Chapters.
The Links organization was incorporated in 1951. Today, there are more than 11,000 members in about 270 chapters located in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and international chapters in Nassau, Bahamas and Frankfurt, Germany.
During the early years, the National Links organization directed the major portion of its Grants-in-Aid support to three other national organizations, the NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Urban League. The organization possesses a life membership in the NAACP and supported the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund at its inception. In the 1960s, The Links, Inc., began a period of priority support for the United Negro College Fund. To date, The Links contribution to UNCF totals more than one million dollars. In its over 50 years of existence, The Links, Inc., has made its name almost synonymous with strong programming and philanthropy.
The National Program of the Links, Inc., consists of five facets:
- National Trends and Services
- Services to Youth
- International Trends and Services
- The Arts
- Health and Human Services
In 1985, Projects L.E.A.D. (Links Erase Alcohol and Drug Abuse) was introduced as a national project of The Links, Inc. The Links organization has four geographic areas, which are Central, Eastern, Southern and Western.
Learn more about our national organization at linksinc.org