NCAHM Feature: Jamaican American Cultural Association

JACA president Gaynor Russell (2nd left) makes a presentation to scholarship winner Dwight Phoenix of Old Harbour High School. Sharing in the moment are fellow scholarship winners (from left) Christopher Cameron, Sanjay Smith and Shantell Phoenix, and principal Lynton Weir.

The Jamaican American Cultural Association (JACA) was formed in 1999 and was one of the organizers of the first Caribbean Summer Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2000. This group consists of a group of enterprising ‘Jamericans’ whose primary focus is to provide educational scholarships and supplies to children in Charlotte and back home in Jamaica. The group is led by president Gaynor Russell.


  • To provide educational support for the children of Caribbean descent living in Charlotte, Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean
  • To contribute to local and international charities in the area of education and health care
  • To provide a medium to expose the Charlotte community to unique Caribbean culture
  • To assist new Caribbean residents of the USA in integrating in the Caribbean community in Charlotte, NC
  • To promote a community for people of Caribbean descent to connect on a regular basis


The JACA has undertaken a number of projects over the years. Its most recent undertaking is making several upgrades to the Vaughansfield Primary & Infant School in Flamstead Gardens, St James. Plans include constructing a play area for the infant department; providing a television set, DVD player and computers to aid the learning process; providing water tanks and a water pump and fixing the children’s and staff bathrooms.

In 2011, the JACA presented scholarships valuing US$2,000 to four Old Harbour High School students Dwight Phoenix and his sister Shantell, Christopher Cameron and Sanjay Smith. Read the story here.

Like the JACA on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.