The Orlando (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated enjoys a rich history steeped in cultural and social traditions and professional and community excellence. Beginning in the 1940s, Leola Nixon, an Orlando native, visited San Francisco, California where a Links Chapter was being organized. Leola Nixon was highly impressed with the overall purpose of The Links, Incorporated accompanied with the organizational mission of friendship and service. Upon her return to Orlando, she began dialogue with some of the more accomplished women within the community about the benefits of forming an Orlando (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.
Since its inception, The Orlando (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated has created impress ionable footprints within the local community, the Southern Area, and the national organization of The Links, Incorporated. Members from the Orlando (FL) Chapter have served nationally and area-wide: Leola Nixon, National Program Chairman; Georgia Schanks, Southern Area Director and National Corresponding Secretary; Linda Reddick, Southern Area Director; Bettye Smith, National Awards and Recognition; Hellen Dennis, Southern Area Parliamentarian; and Lonneen Brown, Southern Area Treasurer. From 1986 to 1998, more than $100,000.00 was donated to the Chapter’s debutante participants to support their educational goals and career aspirations. The Orlando (FL) Chapter has been named recipient of the Southern Area Conference Chapter of the Year Award – Silver Cup for Outstanding Project (1975) and the National Award for Outstanding Program in the Arts Facet (1988). In 2021, as awarded by the Area, we received Second Place for the Healthy Homestead Wealth Building Initiative as well as the Virtie Award for virtual learning and transformational programming for a total of $5000.00.
The Orlando (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated as also received notable contributions and grants to support the delivery of impactful programs. Among the Chapter’s achievements include a $5,000.00 contribution from the City of Orlando to support the School of Black Performing Arts (1975); $1,000.00 grant to implement First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” Project (1983); $5,000.00 grant to implement the National Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative – Florida Pilot Project (2010); $10,000.00 contribution from City of Orlando Mayor’s Matching Grant to implement the Chapter’s Linked in Creativity Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Science (STEAM) program (2014); $1,200.00 grant from the Southern Area to implement the Connecting Threads Initiative of the Arts Facet (2020); $1,200.00 grant from the Southern Area to implement the Artist Noir and Linked in Creativity Initiative of the Arts Facet (2020); $2,400.00 grant from the Southern Area, as sponsored by Truist Bank, to implement the Healthy Homestead Initiative of the Services to Youth Facet (2020); and $2500 national grant implement breast and colon cancer awareness through HEAL (Health Equity Ambassador Links) (2021).
“Linked in Friendship, Connected in Service”
What is consistent across the span of decades with The Orlando (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated remains the ideals of being “Linked in Friendship” and “Connected in Service.” Such bonds of friendship and commitment to service are integral to shared pursuits of cultural and social traditions and professional and community excellence.