UNCF Celebrates Tremendous Success of the National 80th Anniversary “A Mind Is…”® Gala, Raising Over $2M to Support HBCUs

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

Fisk Jubilee Singers and Vanessa Williams rocked the house!

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is thrilled to announce the monumental success of its national 80th Anniversary “A Mind Is…”® Gala which raised $2.2 million in support of its mission to provide access to higher educational opportunities for underrepresented students to go to and through college and to achieve a better future for our nation.

The gala, held on March 7 in Washington, DC, celebrated the achievements of UNCF and honored exceptional philanthropists and corporate industry leaders, and kicked off the year’s 80th anniversary celebrations.

The highlight of the evening came when UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax presented the President’s Award to esteemed philanthropists Martha and Bruce Karsh for their outstanding contributions to education, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their unwavering commitment to empowering young minds.

“Martha and Bruce are dear friends and champions of equal education opportunities for all and a more diverse and equitable society. Their dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of students and the society at large has been truly inspiring,” said Dr. Lomax.

Karsh STEM Scholar and Howard University student Tyla McAffity, a junior majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry, joined Dr. Lomax to make the Karsh presentation.

The gala served as an opportunity for UNCF to recognize corporate industry leaders who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to education and social responsibility. Special recognition was given to Coca-Cola, a founding UNCF sponsor. Accepting the award on behalf of The Coca-Cola Company was La Sonja Scott, vice president, sustainability finance strategy and governance.

UNCF acknowledged presenting sponsor, Target for supporting new generations of innovative minds through Target Scholars. Howard University computer science major, Jahsere Rush, addressed the audience as a UNCF Target Scholar.

Exxon Mobil and JPMorgan Chase, early supporters of UNCF’s founding in 1944, were acknowledged for their significant contributions to the advancement of education and their support of UNCF’s mission. Accepting the Keepers of the Flame Award to JPMorgan Chase was Terry Woodard, vice chairman, JPMorgan Private Banks.

Exxon Mobil received award recognition as one of UNCF’s longstanding supporters.

Accepting the award was Tara C. Parker, manager, talent management and diversity, Exxon Mobil.

Other gala sponsors included Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Bank of America, Chevron, General Motors, Oaktree Capital Management, Toyota and U.S. Bancorp.

UNCF awarded its first National Alumni of the Year Award to Dr. Rubye Taylor-Drake for her invaluable work in helping to support UNCF’s National Alumni Council.

The 80th anniversary “A Mind Is…” Gala featured captivating entertainment that added to the excitement of the evening. Attendees were treated to a mesmerizing performance by UNCF-member institution Fisk University’s renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers, who showcased their exceptional talent and rich cultural heritage. Grammy-nominated artist Vanessa Williams also graced the stage, captivating the audience with her incredible voice and stage presence.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown at our 80th Anniversary “A Mind Is…” Gala,” said Dr. Lomax. “The donations we received from very generous donors will have a profound impact on the lives of countless students, providing them with the opportunity to receive a quality education and unlock their full potential. We extend our deepest gratitude to Martha and Bruce Karsh, as well as our corporate partners, for their tremendous commitment to education and their belief in the power of investing in our future leaders.”

“UNCF is grateful to all the sponsors, donors and attendees who made the 80th Anniversary “A Mind Is…” Gala a resounding success. The event exemplified the collective effort and dedication towards creating a brighter future for African American students and ensuring equal educational opportunities for all,” said Maurice E. Jenkins, Jr., executive vice president and chief development officer, UNCF.

For more information about UNCF and its mission, visit UNCF.org.


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 50,000 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.