Keith Duncan, JMMB Group CEO and president of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and Donna Duncan-Scott, executive director of culture & human development at JMMB Group, were recognised by the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) with the International Achievement Award and International Humanitarian Award, respectively, during its comeback Jamaica Charity Gala, held at the Perez Art Museum (PAMM) in Miami recently.
Glen Holden, former US Ambassador to Jamaica and experienced businessman, was also recognized by the AFJ, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Holden is considered one of the leading innovators and agents of change in the life insurance industry, and serves as president emeritus of the AFJ.
The honorees are nominated by the AFJ board of directors to highlight their impact in philanthropy, successes and significant contributions to economic development in Jamaica.
Duncan, in addition to leading regional financial entity, JMMB Group, is the co-chair of the Economic Programme and Oversight Committee (EPOC); and has demonstrated a deep commitment to his country and youth development.
In addition, he has been instrumental in providing service as chairman of the National Youth Service (NYS) from 2003 to 2009, and worked closely with the respective boards and teams to fulfil the mission of transforming Jamaica’s youth, to become purposeful citizens.
Duncan is also a founding member of the Youth Upliftment through Employment (YUTE) Programme, in Jamaica. For his contribution in the areas of finance, business, youth empowerment and community development, Keith was among 46 outstanding Jamaicans, who were recognized with the second highest honour, Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD), in 2020.
Duncan was also named the 2015/16 Ambassador of Financial Wellness for the Environmental Health Foundation. Additionally, Keith has served on numerous local boards and national committees.
His twin sister, Donna Duncan-Scott, who is a ‘people development champion,’ has passionately built and maintained the love-based culture, which supports the JMMB Group’s competitive advantage. As an authentic, principled and love-based leader, she works with the Culture and Human Development Team (CHDT) in creating and implementing the people-operating frameworks, people policies, processes and practices that develop and maintain its unique culture.
She has extended this love-based leadership to the community, through her co-conceptualization of the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation’s Conversations for Greatness (CFG) programme. This transformational programme is designed to impact education stakeholders in Jamaica; through mindset change, leadership, self-empowerment and coaching.
Over 5,400 teachers, administrators and other support staff across 80 schools, in addition to approximately 100 organisations and civic groups have benefitted from CFG; resulting in positive outcomes, such as improvement in school leadership; better conflict resolution skills among administrative and academic staff; and the resulting unity, healthier interpersonal dynamics, increased parental engagement and improved staff morale.
Additionally, Duncan-Scott, who was a former CEO of JMMB Group, serving at the helm for five years (2000-2005), widened the company’s responsibilities to include: full-service stock brokerage, as well as an insurance brokerage company. She also led the organisation’s expansion to Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
As a result of the company’s impressive performance, she received the Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurial Award and the Jamaica Employers’ Federation Award for Innovative Workplace Practices, among other awards.
The gala was a night of glitz, glamour and fun, for a purpose. Paying tribute to the Jamaican culture, the event began with island-themed drinks and small bites, followed by a three-course dinner and the presentation of awards.
Dancing to Grammy-nominated band, Inner Circle, and DJ Richie D, made for an energetic and fun party vibe.
Novel tabletop arrangements featured all things Jamaican, including coconuts, orchids, driftwood, starfish, seashells, sugar cane and the island’s famous scotch bonnet peppers.
There was also a silent auction featuring a unique collection of art, jewelry, luxury vacation experiences, Jamaican coffee, as well as other products from the island.
The annual gala is an opportunity for the diaspora community, supporters and friends with an interest in Jamaica, to give back to Jamaicans in the areas of education, healthcare and economic development. The event also showcases the AFJ’s work in Jamaica, and is a time to celebrate the achievements of the awardees. To date, the AFJ has dispersed over U$16 million to worthwhile programmes across Jamaica.
Founded in 1982, the AFJ is a charitable organisation built on the principles of service and philanthropy; and is established to render assistance in the areas of education, healthcare and economic development.
The organisation works in a collaborative effort with Jamaican organisations and stakeholders, to bring about change in the lives of Jamaicans in need. Working with its partners, the AFJ assists in providing shelter to the homeless, education to inner-city youth and healthcare to those in need.
Previous AFJ International Humanitarian Award recipients, who were present at the Jamaica Charity Gala, include Richard Byles, former president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited, and Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon of Mustard Seed Communities, among other noteworthy Jamaicans.