$60m-grant from American Friends of Jamaica benefits 27 entities
<p><span>Administrator at the Alpha Institute, Margaret Little (centre), is presented with a US$ 50,000 representational cheque by American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) Directors, Monica Ladd (left); and Sydney Engel at the United States Embassy in St Andrew on April 3. Alpha Institute is among 27 entities that have received grant funding totalling more than US$470,000 ($60 million) to undertake various development projects in the country. The donation to Alpha will fund a DJ programme at the school.(Photo: JIS) </span></p>

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Twenty-seven local entities have received grants totalling more than $60 million (US$470,000) from the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) to undertake various development projects in the country.

A significant portion of money – US$125,000 – was donated to the St Ann's Bay Hospital for the refurbishing of a male surgical ward. This involved partnership with Sandals Foundation; member of the Jamaican diaspora, Sam Wright of Quality Auto Mall; and other partners.

The Alpha Institute also received US$50,000 for the establishment of a DJ training programme at the school.  This will be carried out in partnership with Irie Foundation, a non-profit body based in South Florida.

Executive Director of the AFJ, Caron Chung, said the organisation is pleased to fund a programme that can open up many opportunities for talented youngsters.

“We recognise that the talent of spinning music is sometimes viewed as a hobby, but we know that there is such great potential to do more and for young people who have the talent to take that further,” she said.

She was speaking at a ceremony at the United States Embassy in St Andrew on Monday to hand over the funds.

President of the AFJ, Wendy Hart, noted that the organisation has dedicated the past 35 years to supporting Jamaica's charitable organisations and social initiatives.

She said the grants this year “will invest in literacy programmes, medical and dental equipment (and) training programmes – to invest in communities, to invest in change”.

A non-profit organisation founded in 1982, AFJ seeks to improve the lives of Jamaicans by supporting initiatives that advance self-sufficiency, promote healthy communities and strengthen the nation.

It assists Jamaican charities in the areas of education, healthcare and human and economic development.

To date, the organisation has raised more than US$12 million on behalf of Jamaica's non-profit and charitable organisations.

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