Five Fundraisers in Five States Across Two Nights—Fueling UNCF’s Work, Rapid-Fire
The two-day celebration was led by UNCF New Orleans, where host Mayor LaToya Cantrell, a Xavier University graduate and New Orleans’ first female mayor, and nearly 1,000 UNCF supporters filled the Hyatt Regency ballroom to help New Orleans’ own UNCF-member institutions, Dillard and Xavier universities, and UNCF’s 35 other HBCUs. Revelers included celebrities like singer-songwriter-producer Babyface; Morehouse graduate and New Orleans native PJ Morton, also a singer-songwriter-producer; and actor-writer Jonathan Slocumb, a graduate of UNCF HBCU Oakwood University. Masked Award recipients for the event were Morton and New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.
Up the road in Birmingham, Mayor Randall Woodfin, a Morehouse graduate, welcomed a record-breaking crowd of 1,000 to support the seven UNCF HBCUs close to Birmingham and all of UNCF’s HBCUs. “By giving our students an opportunity to learn, grow and mature at these schools,” said Mayor Woodfin, “we are ensuring that Birmingham’s future is strong.”
It wasn’t just cities that are home to UNCF HBCUs that did their part and more in celebrating the 75th anniversary. UNCF’s Milwaukee Mayor’s Masked Ball was hosted by Mayor Tom Barrett and chaired by Dr. Joan Prince, United States Ambassador Emeritus to the United Nations and vice chancellor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee; and Celia J. Shaughnessy, vice president of human resources and chief human resources officer at Ascension Wisconsin.
Mayor Eric Garcetti hosted UNCF Los Angeles’s star-studded 8th annual Mayor’s Masked Ball, where the Masked Award was presented to producer Jesse Collins, who has produced high-profile programming like the Grammy®Awards, BET Awards and Soul Train Awards, as well as our UNCF An Evening of Stars®. The crowd included celebrities like actors Robert Ri’chard and Pooch Hall, and choreographer, dancer, actor, director and producer Darrin Dewitt Henson.
At the Triangle UNCF Mayors’ Masked Ball in Raleigh, Spectacular magazine called the Masked Ball “the area’s premier fundraising gala and major social event.” Knightdale, NC, mayor James Roberson welcomed the crowd, and the mayors of Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham appeared via video. Masked Awards were presented to community leaders and activists Eileen and Jim Welch and to Dr. Everett Ward, past president of St. Augustine’s University and prior general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Dee McDougal, senior vice president of Pacific Western Bank, served as a co-chair of the event.
So what did all the spectacular soirees across the country that weekend add up to? All in all, five elegant, high-profile events yielded nearly $3 million in support for UNCF-member HBCUs.
But perhaps the most important number of all? The more than 15,000 students from those five states, and the nearly 50,000 students from across the country, who attend UNCF HBCUs, on their way to graduation and careers of success and service—thanks to two days and five very special UNCF events.