UNCF and “March Madness”: A Special Moment in Time

Media Contact

Roy Betts UNCF Communications 240.703.3384 roy.betts@uncf.org

Nine balls. Five galas. Big fun! Attend one of UNCF’s Masked Balls or Galas being conducted across the country and help students in your area

The month of March is UNCF’s (United Negro College Fund) special time of year to host annual galas and masked balls every week to raise funds to support historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This year is no exception.

UNCF Galas and Masked Balls are premier fundraising and social events, focusing on raising public awareness of the importance of supporting deserving students, and generating large corporate and individual donations to help these students meet the expenses of a higher education. Hosted by a diverse group of corporate sponsors and local businesses, the events involve celebrities, dignitaries, civic leaders, volunteers, public officials, alumni and others who support UNCF’s mission of investing in better futures for us all by empowering students to get to and through college.

Help UNCF support HBCUs and students! Learn more about our 15 events coming to a city or region near you this month.

To register to attend or donate if you are unable to attend UNCF’s “March Madness” events, visit UNCF.org/MarchMadness.

March 2

Washington, DC: UNCF National “A Mind is…”® Gala

The 79th prestigious event is hosted by UNCF Board Chair Milton H. Jones, Jr. and UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. This year’s President’s Award recognizes Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, former president of UNCF-member institutions Spelman College and Bennett College; the Frederick D. Patterson Award recognizes U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer; and Delta Air Lines is being presented with the Keeper of the Flame Award.

March 4

Birmingham: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball

The Birmingham UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball is a premier fundraising gala and major social event focusing on raising awareness of the need and benefits of a college education, the students UNCF serves and the contributions of historically Black colleges and universities. Honorees this year are Jerome Luke, senior vice president, business banking governance and credit policy, Regions Bank; LeVoria Bushelon, president, Bushelon Funeral Home; Leroy Abrahams, executive vice president, community affairs, Regions Bank; Landon Ash, chief executive officer, Xtreme Concepts, Inc; and Liz Hemberg, chief operations officer, Xtreme Concepts, Inc.

Greenville, SC: UNCF Upstate Mayor’s Masked Ball

This year’s event honors Denny’s Corporation; former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Richard Riley; Deborah Long; Pastor James Bennett; and legendary Spartanburg High’s track and field coach Glover Smiley.

San Francisco: UNCF “A Mind is…”® Gala

This must-attend stellar San Francisco event includes a live red-carpet, a three-course dinner, an interactive program, live entertainment and dancing. The Corporation of the Year honoree is Blue Shield of California.

March 9

Boston: UNCF New England “A Mind is…”® Gala

2023’s gala honorees are Corporate Awardee Vertex Pharmaceuticals; Lifetime Achievement Awardees Clemmie Cash and James Cash, and Leadership Awardee John B. Hynes, III., CEO, managing partner, Boston Global Investors (BGI)

March 11

Portsmouth, VA: UNCF Hampton Roads Mayors’ Masked Ball

This popular event is hosted by the mayors of the seven cities of the Hampton Roads area. This year’s honorees are Michael Berlucchi, community relations manager, Chrysler Museum of Art; Pastor Emeritus Joe B. Fleming, Third Street Baptist Church; Dr. Johnny J. Garcia, founder and CEO, SimIS, Inc.; and Dr. Angela D. Reddix, founder, CEO and president of ARDX.

March 16

A Mind Is…® Reception
Detroit, MI

This year’s honorees are Frederiek Toney, president, global customer services division (retired), Ford Motor Company; Benjamin Bohannon, marketing manager, customer loyalty programs and cross-channel incentives, General Motors.

March 18

Milwaukee: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball

After a three-year hiatus, the UNCF Milwaukee Mayor’s Masked Ball returns to the Milwaukee Art Museum on March 18th at 6 PM.  Hosted by The Honorable Mayor Cavalier Johnson, this premier social and fundraising gala is supported by corporations, dignitaries, civic leaders, public officials and alumni. This year’s Masked Ball Award honoree is Valerie Daniels Carter.

March 23

New York: UNCF “A Mind Is…”® Gala

The Gala will recognize outstanding partners who are helping to advance educational opportunities for young people of color. This year’s awards will be presented to Leadership awardee Kevin Liles, chairman and CEO, Electra Entertainment Group; Legacy Partner, The Colgate Palmolive Company; and Corporate Award Recipient, Ralph Lauren Corporation.

March 25

Columbus, GA: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball

This must-attend event is hosted by former Georgia Rep. Calvin Smyre and the honorable Skip and Mrs. Karon Henderson, mayor of Columbus. The ball will honor Charles Huff, owner, Charles E. Huff International Funeral Home; Lula Huff, tax commissioner, Muscogee County; and Pamela S. Williams, founder, owner and CEO, Peaceful River Residence Services.

Charlotte: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball

Hosted by the Honorable Vi Alexander Lyles, mayor of Charlotte, the 2023 Ball will honor Ric Elias, co-founder and CEO, Red Ventures; and Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO, Atrium Health.

New Orleans: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball

The UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball is one of New Orleans’ signature fundraising galas and premier social events of the year. This must-attend event is full of fun, fashion, glitz and glamour that supports UNCF’s mission of investing in better futures for the young men and women we serve and by helping them move to and through college. The event Chairs are Michael O. Smith, general manager, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, and Gayle Benson, owner, New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. Hosted by the honorable LaToya Cantrell, mayor of New Orleans, this year’s event honors Henry L. Coaxum, Jr., president of Coaxum Enterprises, Inc.; and Paul Flower, president and CEO of Woodward Design+Build, LLC.

Philadelphia: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball

The honorable James F. Kenny, mayor of Philadelphia, hosts this prestigious event. The 11th Ball will honor Allison Green Johnson, chief diversity officer and president, Lincoln Financial Foundation and Lincoln Financial Group; Jasmine F. Sessoms, senior vice president, corporate affairs, Hilco Redevelopment Partners; and Reginald W. Wilkes, Sr., vice president, wealth management, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC.

Seattle: UNCF “A Mind is…”® Gala

The Gala is one of UNCF’s signature fundraising galas and premier social events of the year. This year’s event will honor Melissa Waggener Zorkin, Global CEO and founder, WE Communications; The Divine 9, and Teague Design Corporation.

March 31

Jacksonville: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball

Hosted by the honorable Lenny Curry, mayor of Jacksonville. This year’s Champion of Education honoree is John D. Baker, II, executive chairman and CEO, FRP Holdings, Inc.


About UNCF

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. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. 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 trademark, 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.