African-American Community Fund Gala to honor 2 Springfield recipients

This year’s African-American Community Fund (AACF) Gala is approaching and will honor two local community members.

The event will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference center, 275 S. Limestone St.

The AACF, created in 2004, is the Springfield Foundation’s first affiliate, said Lula Cosby, original member and committee secretary of the AACF. It’s purpose is encourage philanthropy among African-American donors in the county and to help provide resources for a range of charitable needs in the county, as well as recognizing citizen contributions.

Cosby said the major objectives are to receive gifts, grants and bequest for the benefit of both specific and broad African-American community charitable interest; and to make grants from the Endowment Funds to benefit worthy African-American charitable, benevolent, cultural, religious, civic, health, scientific and educational purposes.

The AACF Gala has been held each year except during COVID to celebrate and bring about awareness of the AACF, she said.

Each year, the AACF awards grants to community organizations or honor individuals for their contributions to the community. This year’s recipients are Dale Henry and in memory of Blontas “Winkie” Mitchell.

Henry served in the U.S. Army, is a Civil War re-enactor, and a father of four, grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of one.

He collaborated with Ferncliff Cemetery Association to establish a monument to the U.S. Colored Soldiers buried at Ferncliff; is president and groundskeeper for The Gammon House, the only designated Clark County landmark associated with the Underground Railroad; was mayor and assistant mayor a total of five years; was the county director for the Clark County Board of Elections for three years; was the regional liaison Ohio Secretary of State for four years; and a member of the signing group of the Sister City Agreement in Wittenberg, Germany, with Wittenberg University and the city of Springfield.

Mitchell was a mental health nurse with Mental Health Services and later at Rocking Horse; drug and alcohol prevention specialist in the city schools; board member with the city human relations board and mediation board; study circles trainer and facilitator with the city and churches, work places, schools and community; founding member of Global Education and Peace Network; worked with Peace Camp teaching diversity and inclusion; volunteer mediator; worked with Wellsprings in the school and retirement communities; and she worked with the Juvenile Court in alternative programming in restorative justice.

Since it began, the AACF has grown to nine funds, starting with the E. Lucille Ginn Fund of the Springfield Chapter of The Links Incorporation, Les Femmes des Charities Scholarship Fund, Waverly Glover Endowment Fund, Mu Chi Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Scholarship Fund, Dr. Edna Jean Harper Scholarship Fund, New North Street A.M.E. Church Endowment, New North Street A.M.E. Scholarships, Friends of Piqua Place Endowment, and the NAACP Delvin Harshaw Scholarship Horizon Fund.

The cost is a $45 per person donation, with $20 tax deductible. The registration and payment deadline is May 31. No payment will be accepted at the door and there are no refunds. To register or for more information, visit or call 937-324-8773.

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