Black Alumni Association’s Virtual Brunch Raises Funds for International Students and Frontline Workers

June 15, 2020

Embracing the Vincentian spirit that is woven throughout the fabric of St. John’s University, the Black Alumni Association (BAA) recently hosted the BAA Virtual Brunch for a Cause, raising funds for meals for students and first responders affected by the global pandemic.

“With all that is going on in the world, and particularly in the St. John’s community, we wanted to do something to give back,” said BAA President Melissa Akers-Atkins ’04Ed, ’06GEd. “By encouraging our BAA members to stay home and take part in a virtual fundraiser, it gave us an opportunity to pay it forward.”

The event, which took place on the popular Zoom platform in late April, was attended by more than 20 alumni, who presented their culinary creations to the group. Throughout the brunch, guests enjoyed dance music, a scavenger hunt, and games like “Guess the Tune.”

The first-of-its-kind fundraiser shattered its original goal of $500, raising more than double that amount. Through the BAA Virtual Brunch Fund, the association paid for a pizza party for international students who were still living in Henley Hall, and breakfast for frontline health-care workers at Queens Hospital Center.

“Thank you to the BAA for the pizza after an exhausting week,” said Daniil Prokopenko, a junior from Ukraine. “It was so nice to have a meal after finals.”

David Weisman, Ph.D., CPXP, Chief Experience Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals in Queens, was equally grateful.

“On behalf of our brave frontline employees, I would like to thank the members of the Black Alumni Association at St. John’s University for the breakfast donation,” he said. “Your generosity is greatly appreciated.”