This year marked the 60th anniversary of the Riverside Hawks Youth Basketball program, an organization whose mission is to support children and families in need by way of the game of basketball in upper Manhattan's community. To commemorate six decades of service, the organization hosted the Riverside Hawks 60th Anniversary Gala held at the Landmark Hotel where the honorary co-chairs of the event were Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee.

Created in 1961 by the historic Riverside Church, the program now boasts the accomplishment of serving ​​over 300 local youth who live primarily in the New York Metropolitan area. To further illuminate the impact of the Riverside Hawks, the organization awarded an abundance of honorees who exemplified the organization’s commitment to public service and outreach to Black youth.  

From left: Chris Snell, Director of Operation,Riverside Hawks; Metta World Peace; Phil Isom Riverside Hawks Board Chair. Image: courtesy of Riverside Hawks

BET’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Scott M. Mills received his award from long-time friend and colleague Erika Irish Brown; Maurice Coleman, Market Executive for Commercial Real Estate Banking, Bank of America received his award from TIAA CEO Derek Ferguson. NBA superstar, entrepreneur, and Mental Health advocate, Metta World Peace was also in attendance and was this year’s Alumni Honoree as a one-time Riverside Hawk. Longtime coach Dermon Player was inducted into the Riverside Hawks Hall of Fame, and award-winning film and television producer, Crystal McCrary-McGuire and her husband Ray McGuire presented the “Coach of the Year” award to youth coach Hector Almodóvar.

Making the occasion ever sweeter, the organization successfully raised more than $130,000 from donors in attendance and more than $900,000 overall. Organizations like Riverside Hawks are integral to the framework of our community and we are thrilled to see them thrive.

Former L.A. Lakers basketball champion, Metta Sandiford-Artest (aka Metta World Peace) Image: Courtesy of Riverside Hawks
BET CEO Scott Mills and presenter, Erika Irish Brown Image: Courtesy of Riverside Hawks
Ray McGuire and his wife Crystal McCrary-McGuire with youth coach Hector Almodovar Image: Courtesy of Riverside Hawks
Riverside Hawks Gala emcee Maurice DuBois and member of the board, Dr. Emily Anderson Image: Courtesy of Riverside Hawks