UNCF Jacksonville and Edward Waters University hosts Inaugural Mayor’s Masked Ball raising Vital Funds to Support HBCUs and Students

Delivering impact for students across Jacksonville, event supported UNCF and Edward Waters University

The inaugural Mayor’s Masked Ball supporting Edward Waters University was a smashing success, held at the Prime Osborn on Friday, March 18th, and emceed by ActionNews Jax’s Courtney Cole.  The event raised nearly $500,000 and featured various speakers, a presentation of the Champion of Education Award to Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, and entertainment by the Hamiltones.

Participants included Mayor Lenny Curry, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., CEO, and President of Edward Waters University, Maurice Jenkins, Chief Development Officer of UNCF, and a host of other donors and supporters.  One highlight of the evening was the impassioned speeches from Edward Waters University students Brianna Pendergrass and Davon Davis.

“It was an honor to work with the UNCF and Edward Waters University to bring the inaugural Mayor’s Masked Ball to Jacksonville. I look forward to continuing to grow this event and benefit students throughout our community.” – Mayor Lenny Curry

“We needed to secure the enthusiastic backing of perhaps the most indispensable element for bringing this kind of event to life—that being the support of our outstanding Mayor here in the City of Jacksonville: The Honorable Mayor Lenny Curry,” Dr. Faison said.

Additionally, Dr. Faison added, “Edward Waters University is distinctively the state of Florida’s first independent institution of higher learning as well as Florida’s first institution established for the education of African Americans. With a distinguished higher education lineage spanning over 150 years, having recently earned university status buttressed by new academic degree programs, and experiencing record enrollment increases making EWU Florida’s fastest-growing HBCU, Edward Waters is primed to continue its trajectory towards becoming State of Florida’s ‘Destination institution’ of Emerging Eminence.”

“For more than 77 years, UNCF has fueled HBCUs with vital resources to educate generations of African American and other minority students,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “During the continuing unprecedented health and racial pandemics we’re all living through, our students and institutions need support now more than ever. We are at risk of washing away a generation of talented and deserving African American and minority students. We are asking for as many donations as possible right now because the students we help now will be our next generation of doctors, nurses, biologists, virologists, epidemiologists—the pandemic frontliners of the future. We thank everyone in Jacksonville that participated in the Mayor’s Masked Ball to help ensure better futures for us all.”

Sponsors of the inaugural Mayor’s Masked Ball included Sissine’s Office Systems and the Leb Family Foundation, CSX, Florida Blue, Ellucian, Follett, FIS, JTA, and The SAC Collective. The event’s media partners were ActionNews Jax and iHeart Radio.

The Jacksonville Mayor’s Masked Ball is still accepting donations. To learn more or to donate, please go to UNCF.org/JacksonvilleMMB.

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. UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% 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 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.