The Bronx Museum was transformed into a gala ballroom on Friday September 23rd 2011 when community activists joined to celebrate the thirty years of service that the Morrisania Revitalization Corporation has given to the Bronx community.
Honorees that evening included the founder of the Golden Krust restaurant chain Mr. Lowell Hawthorne and his sister Ms. Lorraine Hawthorne-Morrison, Mr. Daniel Figueroa, the Chief of staff for Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera, Ms Herma Clunis the Partner and Vice President of Prestige Management Inc, Mr. Mark Angeli Vice President of Citi group, Ms. Ivonne Diaz-Villanueva of New York Life and Assemblyman Carl Heastie.
Morrisania Revitalization Corporation’s Executive Director, Claudia Nisbett stated that “MRC continues to build a legacy in the Community and tonight we are so proud to celebrate our 30th anniversary with our amazing honorees”.
The audience of over 100 networked and enjoyed a buffet of various specialties from the Golden Krust franchise while listening to the many accomplishments of the honorees. Daniel Figueroa talked emotionally about his childhood and the difficulties of choosing between life on the streets as a gang member or deciding to change the circumstances of his life. “As a Chief of staff for an accomplished Assemblyman I hear the problems and issues which face our community, it is my job to attempt to solve these problems and organizations such as Morrisania Revitalization are a source of help to insure everyone gets the services they are entitled too.”
Ms. Herma Clunis, Partner and Vice President of Finance at Prestige Management Inc. has over 30 years of service in the Housing industry. Ms. Clunis’ knowledge of accounting and sound financial practices has helped to create a special niche at prestige Management being at the forefront of the New York City building management industry.
Mark Angeli, Vice President of Citi Group spoke on his experience as a Bronx born native and the desire to see the quality of life improve and the role of financial institutions like Citi Group to help in that process. He stated “how proud he was to have his sister and mother here to celebrate with him.”
While Lowell Hawthorne was unable to attend, his son Omar acknowledged the role his father has played in helping create jobs with a franchise that his father, a Jamaican immigrant started in the Bronx. Ms Lorraine Hawthorne-Morrison also emphasized the humble beginnings that began in a small store front on Gun Hill Road and today has over 120 locations from Massachusetts to Florida. “My brother and I just wanted to make a living selling Jamaican style breads and foods to our fellow Jamaican immigrants. Golden Krust grew and today we are in a position via our scholarship fund to help under privileged children here and in Jamaica earn the education and opportunities that we were lucky to have attained.”
Ms. Ivonne Diaz-Villanova of New York Life also spoke passionately about her love for her hometown the Bronx and how she feels blessed to be able to give back whenever she can. She is truly an angel of the Bronx who has dedicated numerous hours to volunteer and help the less fortunate.
About Morrisania Revitalization Corporation:
Morrisania Revitalization Corporation (MRC) is a community housing development organization founded almost 30 years ago to develop programs and activities designed to enhance the quality of life for the residents of the Morrisania community. MRC’s primary goals are to improve housing and economic opportunities within the community and to provide supportive social services where needed. MRC’s programs include marketing for the City Home – South Bronx program, operating the Ella Baker/Cleveland Robinson Leadership Academy, and the Peace Academy Tutorial Program. MRC also provides technical assistance to the Harriet Tubman Charter School. Working closely with Community Board 3, MRC provides a comprehensive array of programs and services to the community including research and planning, housing management, tenant/homeowner assistance, loan/grant application assistance, youth education and leadership development, and housing rehab/development.
Image caption – left to right: Eddie McShan accepting for Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Ivonne diaz Villanova from New York Life, Daniel Figueroa Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Peter Rivera, Ms. Lorraine Hawthorne-Morrison, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Mavis & Ephraim Hawthorne Golden Krust Foundation, Omar Hawthorne of Golden Krust accepting for his father Lowell Hawthorne, Ms. Herma Clunis, Vice President of Finance at Prestige Management, Mark Angeli Vice President at Citi Group.