Hip Hip Hooray, Gala Raises A Million Dollars For The Riverside Hawks Champs

The Riverside Hawks organization, one of the nation’s leading athletic-academic programs, held its 2022 Gala celebration on Tuesday, December 13th, 2022, at the Mandarin Oriental In NYC.

The Mandarin Oriental, at 80 Columbus Circle, attracted an important group of new and prior supporters who generously came through during this season of “giving”.  This year the organization raised nearly a million dollars, shy of what is required for a program like this to maintain its high standards.  Guests dug deep into their pockets and pocketbooks for gala co-chair Erika Irish Brown during the event to raise over 50,000 additional dollars in support of the organization.

Chicago native and Columbia University Business School graduate, Portia Fultz Archer, the first woman, and the first African American to hold the newly created position of COO, with the NBA G League, was one of the honorees and announced that Riverside Hawks participant and presenter, Rebecca Osei-Owusu would be shadowing her – part of the additional opportunities created through the program. Among the other honorees was another Columbia Business School graduate, Meredith Marshall, founder of BRP Companies a leading real estate development and investment organization.  This year’s Hall of Fame inductee was Anthony Hargraves a Riverside Hawks alumnus who went on to play Division 1 basketball at Iona College and was named Associated Press Academic All-American in 1985.  Mr. Hargraves was recognized for his 40-year commitment to the Hawks program and is currently the Hawks Program Director.  The Hawks’ Coach of the Year honoree was Karriem Memminger.  Mr. Memminger has been an important figure at Riverside, responsible for coaching sensational young players like the outstanding 6-foot-3 guard from Harlem, Cam Estevez, who will be attending the University of Rhode Island next year to play for the Rams.  Ardian, a global private investment house with roots in Europe, and a generous supporter and friend of the Riverside Hawks was recognized with this year’s Corporate Citizenship Award, which was accepted by Vladimir Colas, Co-Head of Ardian U.S.  This year’s Riverside Hawks 3rd grade AAU National Champions were also among those honored at the 2022 Gala.

The funds raised this year will allow the Riverside Hawks to continue providing opportunities to hundreds of gifted young athletes to attend prestigious private high schools and some of the nation’s leading universities and colleges. Over the years the organization has built an impressive alumni roster that includes hundreds of professional basketball players and notable members of the NBA.  Among the most recognizable of these names are Donovan Mitchell, Ty Jerome, Eric Paschal, Chris Mullin, Tiny Archibald, Kenny Smith, Kenny Anderson, Ed Pinckney, Metta World Peace, Elton Brand, Malik Sealy, and many more.

Participation in the Riverside Hawks program begins at age 5 with the tiny tots enrolled in the Hawks in Training program, a no-nonsense initiative that prepares them emotionally and physically.  The program includes both boys’ and girls’ teams, with players as young as 8 and 9, competing in AAU national finals. 


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In addition to mentorship and coaching, the Riverside Hawks program brings families and communities together; provides initiatives that enrich a child’s learning experience, including free tutoring that prepares them for standardized testing for both high school and college acceptance.  

The program mixes academics and basketball to ensure student participants excel at both and gives them the tools needed to achieve both life and career success.  Over the years, the program has earned bragging rights with impressive outcomes, and this year is no different:

  • 100% high school graduation among students in 2022
  • 100% of 2022 high school graduates have been accepted into college
  • Since 2020 Riverside Hawks students have received over $5 million in college scholarships and grants (over 4-years) and over $550K in prep-school scholarships
  • The program has also provided over $125K in high school scholarships to its students over the last 24 years.

These accomplishments are made possible by the commitment of partners and donors who continue to give generously, and the passion of a supportive board that each year makes the Gala a unique experience for all attendees.  Changing lives takes both commitment and support. 

Here are images from the event:

For more information on the Riverside Hawks, and to contribute to this important program  Click here.

Photo credit: 1) Riverside Hawks student player Rebecca Osei-Owusu with honoree, Portia Fultz Archer. 2) Honoree Meredith Marshall with Crystal McGuire and MC, CBS News 2 Anchor Maurice Dubois. 3) Sharlim and Lawrence Raysor with their son. 4) Coach Dermon Player, board members Rick Lerner, Erika Irish Brown, Phil Isom and guest. 5) Board members Les Franks and Rick Lerner. 6) Howard and Merle Feinglass. 7) Guest. 8) The Champions.

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