The Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center (MEOC) celebrated 50 years providing critical academic and vocational services to underserved residents of Harlem and throughout New York City with an elegant evening of community building and entertainment.
The fundraising gala, “Celebrating 50 Years,” held May 3 at Harlem’s legendary Alhambra Ballroom, started with a cocktail reception and included a catered dinner, live music and speaker program. The event raised more than $39,000, with proceeds to benefit the MEOC Student Emergency and Scholarship Fund.
"I must say that I was humbled and extremely appreciative of all the support MEOC received for our 50th Anniversary Celebration,” said Anthony Watson, Executive Director of MEOC. "It was filled with laughter, great stories and some impactful speeches. We were honored to acknowledge and recognize Charlie Rangel and Antonio Pérez, and to have our distinguished guest, H. Carl McCall, take part in this special day. We hope to continue impacting and serving our community for another 50 years."
Honorees, supporters and a Silent Auction
The Gala Honorees were Antonio Pérez, President of BMCC, and Charles Rangel, Retired U.S. Representative. The Distinguished Guest was H. Carl McCall, Chairman of the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees.
Supporters and donors included BMCC, SUNY University Center for Academic and Workforce Development, SUNY Central, SUNY (Downstate) Welcome Center, CUNY Office of Special Programs, Brooklyn EOC, Buffalo EOC, Long Island EOC, Syracuse EOC, Westchester EOC, SUNY College and Career Counseling Center, CLOTH, The Chief, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, West Harlem Group Assistance, Year Up, Silicon Harlem, DC 37 and Affinity Health Plan.
The “Celebrating 50 Years Gala” also featured a silent auction. Donated items included New York Red Bull Soccer tickets, CATS on Broadway tickets, School of Rock on Broadway tickets, a Sexy Taco Dirty Cash Dinner for two, brunch tickets to BB Kings Gospel Brunch, a Ponty Bistro Gift Certificate, a Red Satin Gown by Gustavo Cadile, a gift certificate to Asuka Sushi, leggings by RUNE NYC, gift certificates for dance classes with Latin Cruise, a gift certificate for Hoodwinked Escape, artwork by Jose Ojeda, a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and Career Strategy Session and artwork by timmy-g.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the MEOC Student Emergency and Scholarship Fund.
Helping New Yorkers reach their goals
More than 50,000 individuals have reached their goals through the free educational and workforce development programs at MEOC. Students choose from an array of programs to gain their high school equivalency, enter college, learn English and earn certifications or licenses to work as a nursing assistant, an electronic health record professional and in many other high-demand areas.
“This Gala marked 50 years of MEOC providing the residents of Harlem and throughout New York City with exciting opportunities to fuel their socio-economic mobility through education and training,” said MEOC Director Anthony Watson. “As part of a SUNY-funded system of educational enterprises, MEOC serves at no cost, eligible adults determined to raise their educational level and employment skills. 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.”