“March Madness”: UNCF Galas Across the Country

Balls! Galas! Big fun! Attend one of UNCF's Masked Balls or Galas being conducted around the country and help students in your area.

Each year, UNCF presents its own version of “March Madness,” as local communities cities conduct glamorous masked balls and galas to help students realize their dreams of a college education via HBCUs and many other colleges and universities across the United States.

The UNCF 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.

Galas and Balls, but that’s not all!

UNCF regional offices also offer daytime events. This season, you can attend live or virtual breakfasts, teas, luncheons, or Black history celebrations in Detroit, Tampa or Orlando. See the events listed below!

Can’t attend?




Find your city or region and help UNCF help students!


Note: Live events may require that attendees are fully masked and vaccinated, with a negative test result. You may be asked to provide verification of your vaccination or test status at registration. Check with presenting offices for requirements.


Masked ball ballroom before the party


Let the March Madness Begin!

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 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  will recognize U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer; and Delta is being presented with the Keeper of the Flame Award.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and UNCF members pose onstage at the 2020 National Gala

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins UNCF members at the 2020 National Gala

March 4

Birmingham: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball
Honorees this year are Jerome Luke, senior vice president, business banking governance and credit policy for Regions Bank; LeVoria Bushelon, with Bushelon Funeral Home; Leroy Abrahams, executive vice president, community affairs, Regions Bank; Landon Ash, CEO of Xtreme Concepts, Inc.; and Liz Hemberg of Xtreme Concepts, Inc.

A group of men pose together on the red carpet


Greenville, SC: UNCF Upstate Mayors’ Masked Ball
This year’s event honors supporters Denny’s Corporation; former Secretary of the US Dept. 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 3-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, of the Chrysler Museum of Art; Pastor Emeritus Joe B. Fleming, Third Street Baptist Church; Dr. Johnny J. Garcia, founder and CEO of SimIS Inc.; and Dr. Angela D. Reddix, founder, CEO and president of ARDX.

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.  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.

Morris Day and Jerome perform at gala

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 of Electra Entertainment Group; Legacy Partner The Colgate Palmolive Company; and Corporate Award recipient Ralph Lauren Corporation.

Headshot of Michael Bloomberg speaking at UNCF event

Michael R. Bloomberg giving his acceptance remarks for the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020

March 25

Columbus, GA: UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball
This must-attend event is hosted by former Georgia Rep. Calvin Smyra 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.  Hosted by 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.

woman in flower mask

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. Hosted by the Honorable LaToya Cantrell, mayor of New Orleans, this year’s event honors Henry Coaxum, founder of Coaxum Enterprises; Paul Flower, president and CEO of Woodward Design & Build; Sherry and Alan Leventhal, Tulane University Vice Chair, Board of Administrators; and President Joe Biden’s appointed U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, respectively.

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, Sr. Vice President of Corporate. Affairs, Hilco Redevelopment Partners; and Reginald W. Wilkes, Sr., Vice President of Wealth Management, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC.

gala crowd paddle raise

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 of WE Communications; The Divine Nine, 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.

crowd dancing at gala