Key Women of America, Inc. was a favored organization of the late Mrs. Lillian James.  After working with the Brooklyn Branch for many years, she felt the need for a second branch in Brooklyn.  In 1974, she met with eight (8) women in her home to organize the second branch known at that time as the Brooklyn Young Adult Branch.  Our main goal was to raise funds to assist underprivileged youth.  Our first project was in December 1974, when we took fifty young people to Manhattan for a day on the town.  Our first fundraiser was in May of 1975, when we hosted a luncheon honoring the late Mr. Alfred Bush and the late Mrs. Lillian James. 


On November 6, 1976, with twelve (12) members, we were installed by our Founder, the late Reverend Bertha Nelms Harris as the Stuyvesant Branch. The charter members of this branch were:

  • Demetta E. Williams                               President

  • Wanda Epps                                            First Vice-President

  • Patrice Hartley                                         Recording Secretary

  • Yvette Wynne                                          Assistant Secretary

  • Lanie L. Haynes                                       Financial Secretary

  • Margaret Brown                                      Treasurer

  • Mildred Kent                                           Assistant Treasurer

  • Mary Davis                                              Corresponding Secretary

  • Elizabeth Jones                                      Chairman, Health & Welfare

  • Geraldine Moore                                    Chairman, Hospitality

  • *Mildred Brown                                      Chairman, Service Projects

  • Geraldine Johnson                                 Chairman, Public Relations


Since that time we have grown, taking on additional projects such as working with the children’s wards at hospitals; working with veterans at the veteran’s hospitals and nursing homes.  We brought holiday greetings during Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and provided music, gifts and entertainment. Also, some of our Key sisters arranged to have group home residents spend the holiday week with their families.


We have sponsored holiday parties at group homes, and provided various activities for youth, that included Broadway shows, movies, skating, museums, and the circus.

Academically, to financially assist college students, we have awarded them The Lillian James Scholarship Award.


Our Twentieth (20th) Anniversary was celebrated on November 2, 1996. We honored several outstanding key sisters and citizens from the community.  Our Theme: “We Honor Those Who Serve.”



  • Joan M. Eastmond, Director, Fort Greene Senior Citizens Center; Educator and Community Leader

  • Mildred C. Brown, Retired Seamstress from the Garment Industry and from her Dressmaking Boutique in Brooklyn, New York

  • Lanie L. Haynes, Representative, Social Security Administration

  • Geraldine Johnson, An Accomplished Soprano-Soloist, Educator

  • Elizabeth Jones, Educator, Scouting Coordinator


The proceeds went to toward The Lillian James Scholarship Fund.



  • Supports the Prison Ministry of Rikers Island by donating white socks to the men and women in prison

  • Supports the Angel Tree by donating toys to the children of those incarcerated

  • Supports Back-to-School community projects by donating book bags and school supplies

  • Donated books and other essentials to the Butterfly Mind Day Care Center

  • Monetary donation to support youth conferences and retreats

  • Monetary donation to families in need

  • Hospitals/Nursing homes visits to the sick and shut in

  • Served annually as hostesses at the Seniors’ Christmas celebration at Bridge Street AME Church

  • Members volunteer weekly in soup kitchens feeding and serving the community

  • Donated food/clothing to the Haiti Relief Project as a result of Hurricane Matthew

  • Supports all National projects and the functions of our sister branches

  • Attend National meetings and Biennial Conferences

  • Hosted Quarterly National Meetings and Founder’s Day Annual Luncheon

While this is just an overview of some of our activities, and despite our many challenges, the Stuyvesant Branch of Key Women of America, Inc., pledge to continue dedicating our services with love and compassion to the community. The focus of our goal is to help raise the quality of life for our people by guiding our youth, caring for our seniors, veterans and taking an active role in our community.


The membership of the Stuyvesant Branch has decreased tremendously over the years.  Currently, our branch consists of nine (9) members:


LANIE L. HAYNES, serving as President.



Elizabeth Jones                                    Helen Jones

Katie Lee                                        Veronica Morris

Tahitia M. Nesmith                    Linda Washington

Alfredia Session                               Julie Williams



Margaret Tate—Geraldine Johnson



Lanie L. Haynes – Veronica Morris – Julie Williams


Fundraiser Events:

Bus Rides--Raffles Drawing—Stay-At-Home-Tea Parties—Community Socials, Flea Market and most recently, our Applebee’s Flapjack Pancake Breakfast




1976-2016 -- Lanie L. Haynes has been the recipient of many awards for her dedication and commitment to The Key Women of America, Inc. organization on both the National and Local levels.

  • 2016---Honored by the Lakeview Branch of Key Women of America, Inc. and presented The Fay L. Ming Pioneer Award

  • 2013---President’s Award (National)

  • 2007---Stuyvesant Branch Appreciation Award

  • 2005---The Bertha Nelms Harris Community Service Award (National)

  • 1996---Stuyvesant Branch Achievement Award

  • 2016 -- Helen Jones -- Community Service Awards, Commission on Christian Education, Bridge Street AME Church 87th Police Precinct Award

  • 2016 -- Elizabeth Jones -- Community/Church Service Recognition Award, Commission on Christian Education, Bridge Street  AME Church

  • 2015 -- Veronica Morris -- The Bertha Nelms Harris Service Award (National)

  • 2013 -- Meritorious Service Award (National)

  • 2009 -- Branch Appreciation Award

  • 2014 -- Julie Williams -- Meritorious Service Award (National)

  • 2013 -- Mr. Isaiah Griffin and Ms. Nia Beasley, two (2) outstanding young people from the community, received the Jessica B. Davis Musical Scholarship Award, presented by the Stuyvesant Branch: 

  • 2001 -- The Stuyvesant Branch was presented a Recognition Award for more than 25 years of Service consistent with The Key Women of America, Inc.’s Mission Statement



The Stuyvesant Branch has been served by seven (7) past presidents:

Denise Watts, *Mildred Brown, Elizabeth Jones, Demetta Williams, Geraldine Johnson, *Clara Ligon and Katie Lee.


We the Stuyvesant Branch remains committed, dedicated and focus on the Dream of our Founder, the late Rev. Bertha Nelms Harris, “Investment in Children and Service to the Community.”


Submitted by:

Veronica Morris

Lanie L. Haynes

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