• Over 12,000 members are women of African ancestry.
  • 274 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
  • The Links, Incorporated is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 4 organization.
  • The Links Foundation, Incorporated is a 501 (c) 3 organization.

The Links Incorporated
The Central Area Links, Inc


The Ann Arbor (MI) chapter was organized by Virginia Ellis who served as the chapter’s first president. She invited several women to her home on June 16, 1978 to develop an interest group.

The Ann Arbor (MI) chapter of The Links, Incorporated was officially established on March 10, 1979 at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor. There were thirty-two charter members who represented the educational, political, social, cultural and economic core of the African American community in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area. The installing officer was Julia Purnell, national president of The Links, Incorporated who was also the sister of chapter charter members Sadie Blackwell and Christine Gilchrist. The official sponsor of the chapter was Allene Rayford of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ann Johnson Julian served as the chapter’s unofficial sponsor.

The Ann Arbor (MI) chapter is one of ten Links, Incorporated chapters in the State of Michigan and is part of the Central Area Region.

The Ann Arbor (MI) chapter, through the friendship of multi-talented and accomplished professional women serves to have a positive impact on the African American community of Washtenaw County by improving the lives of its residents, especially the most vulnerable populations. The mission of the Ann Arbor (MI) chapter is to increase the prosperity of the African American community of Washtenaw County through impactful programming that promotes the arts, health and human services, youth, and social justice on both a national and international level.



The Links, Incorporated was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 9, 1946 by friends Sarah Strickland Scott and Margaret Roselle Hawkins.

The Links, Incorporated celebrates more than 70 years as a women’s volunteer service organization committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. A premier international service organization with more than 15,000 members in 288 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom its legacy of friends providing service that changes lives, established by the original circle of nine friends in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1946, is alive and well.

The members of The Links, Incorporated are influential decision makers and opinion leaders. The Links, Incorporated has attracted many distinguished women who are individual achievers and who have made a difference in their communities and the world. They are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work towards a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership. With more than two million service hours recorded in the past three years, members regularly contribute more than 500,000 documented service hours in their respective communities annually.

The Links Foundation, Incorporated, the philanthropic arm of The Links, Incorporated, has made more than $25 million in charitable contributions since its founding. Working closely with its sponsors and supporters, The Links, Incorporated is focused on creating transformational programming and impact­ing lives in communities of color through Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, and Health and Human Services, to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities. The Links, Incorporated: “Linked in Friendship, Connected in Service.”


(Left to Right)

First Row: Zerilda Palmer, Juanita E. Bradley, Christella Moody, Anne Lucas, Virginia W. Ellis (President), Julia Purnell (Ninth National President), Letitia J. Byrd, Rosetta C. Wingo, Barbara E. Meadows, and Josephine G. Owens

Second Row: Christine Gilchrist, Hazel M. Turner, Shirley Dorsey Martin, Mary Hamilton, Henri M. Parker, Rose Gibson, Delores A. Anderson, Carolyn A. Boyd, Sadie B. Blackwell, Gloria Horne, Frances H. Vaughn and Betty W. McDonald

Third Row:  Frances Watts, Virginia B. Bailey, Ida R. Edwards, Rebecca Vaughan, Burnita Cash, Christina W. Neal, Lola M. Jones, Gwendolyn C. Baker and Allene Rayford (Vice President, Baton Rouge Chapter)

CHARTER MEMBERS (1979) Continued…

Left to Right: Betty Jean Childress, Willie Edwards and Jennie Partee


1978-1991 Virginia Ellis
1981-1983 Christina Neal
1983-1985 Bettye McDonald
1985-1987 Hazel Turner
1987-1989 Rosetta Wingo
1989-1990 Barbara Meadows
1990-1992 Letitia Byrd
1992-1993 Virginia Bailey
1993-1995 Nora Martin
1995-1996 Christella Moody
1996-1998 Willie Edwards
1998-2001 Ann Hampton-Hawkins
2001-2003 Bella Parker
2003-2005 Jan Collins-Eaglin
2005-2007 Laurita Thomas
2007-2009 Sandra Harris
2009-2011 Patricia Manley
2011 -2015 Cleopatra Caldwell
2015-2019 Linda King
2019 – 2021 Wendy Woods


President Lisa Bradley
Vice President for Membership Stacia Weeks
Vice President for Programs Darlene Ray-Johnson
Recording Secretary Brandy Merritt
Corresponding Secretary Angela R. Johnson
Assistant to the Secretary Tena Shelton
Treasurer Carolyn Cole-Brown
Financial Secretary Carine Hails
Parliamentarian Arlene Barnes
Historian Monique Washington
Chaplain Karen-Lee Jones Stewart
Immediate Past President Wendy Woods