ATLANTA —The 33rd annual UNCF Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball raised more than $1.3 million for HBCU students, surpassing all other years since its founding in 1983.
With help from celebrity friends, actor/ singer Tyrese Gibson led the mission call—assisting in raising $200,000 by pledging $25,000 himself, with R&B artist Usher Raymond and rappers Young Jeezy, Future and later Ludacris following his lead by each giving $25,000.
The sold-out formal affair, UNCF’s signature fundraising gala and premier social event of the Atlanta holiday season, had more than 1,300 in attendance at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis on Saturday, Dec. 17. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF Executive Vice President Maurice E. Jenkins, Jr. and UNCF Regional Development Director Justine Boyd were hosts. Brannigan Thompson, Voya Financial senior vice president, and Dontá Wilson, BB&T senior executive vice president and chief client experience officer, were honorary co-chairs.
“We are incredibly excited and grateful for all who supported for our 33rd annual ball. A milestone was reached, raising more than ever before at $1.3 million for HBCU students,” said Boyd, “We thank Mayor Kasim Reed and the citizens of Atlanta who are to be commended for helping us to make this the best year ever in support of our 37 UNCF member colleges and universities, four of which are right here in Atlanta.”
Entertainment for the event was provided by world-class percussionist and recording artist Sheila E., who opened with Prince’s “Erotic City” and performed her songs including “Love Bazaar” and “Glamorous Life.” Comedian, actor and radio personality J. Anthony Brown was master of ceremonies. Egypt Sherrod, HGTV host of “Flipping Virgins” and “Property Virgins” hosted the red carpet.
Celebrities, dignitaries and influencers in attendance in addition to Usher, Tyrese, Future and Young Jeezy were philanthropists Hank and Billye Aaron; Ambassador Andrew Young and Carolyn Young; gospel recording artist Vashawn Mitchell; actor Lamman Rucker; R&B artist Angie Stone; Reality TV stars Dr. Heavenly Kimes, Dr. Jackie Walters, Genise Shelton and Stevie Baggs Jr.; poet Pearl Cleage; singer Kore Stacks; Dr. Yamma Brown daughter of the late singer James Brown; actress Reece Odum; film producer Roger Bobb; Bounce TV President Ryan Glover; BMI Vice President Catherine Brewton; musician Avery Sunshine; Bravo TV’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Phaedra Parks; recording artist Q Parker of 112; and Miss National UNCF Taylor Cooper of Wiley College. Past and present college presidents in attendance represented Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Clark Atlanta University, International Theological Center, Florida A&M University, Huston-Tillotson University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Rust College, Talladega College, Wiley College, Shaw University and Morehouse School of Medicine.
UNCF is the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships to minority students. As a result of the success of the UNCF Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball, thousands of students have a brighter future because of the support they have received.
Marquis Sponsors of the 2016 UNCF Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball are: The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Airlines, UPS, and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
For more information visit www.uncf.org or call 404 302-8623.
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.