UNCF’s Third Annual Hampton Roads Mayors’ Masked Ball Supports Area Schools, Students

On March 7, nearly 500 guests came out to the Virginia Beach Convention Center to help the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) raise funds to empower thousands of deserving students to earn college degrees annual at the UNCF Mayors’ Masked Ball The event featured a masked reception, red carpet photo opportunities, a paddle raise, live music by students of Porte Towne Magic and dancing.

Civic leaders and national celebrities dined and celebrated, including Hampton Roads area mayors Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer, city of Virginia Beach; Kenneth Cooper Alexander, city of Norfolk; Linda T. Johnson city of Suffolk; McKinley L. Price, DDS, city of Newport News; John L. Rowe, Jr., city of Portsmouth; Donnie Tuck, city of Hampton; and Dr. Richard W. “Rick” West, city of Chesapeake.

Hampton Roads area mayors

Hampton Roads Mayors Giving a Toast

Other civic leaders in attendance included US Representatives Virginia 2nd Congressional District Congresswoman Elaine Luria, Congressman Bobby Scott, Virginia 3rd Congressional District, US Representative Director of Outreach for the US House of Representatives, Erin Carter, and Presidents, Marcia Conston, Tidewater Community College and Dr. Javaun Adams-Gaston, Norfolk State University.

event cochairs

2020 Honorary Co-Chairs- Tonya D. Byrd, Dominion Energy and James S. “Jim” Byrd, Virginia Port Authority

Special guest emcees were actors Darryl Bell and Jasmine Guy, best known as “Ron Johnson” and “Whitley Gilbert” from the ‘80s sitcom, “A Different World.” The premier sponsors included Cox Communications, Dominion Energy, Entercom, Geico, SunTrust and BB&T (Truist), Virginia Port Authority, and New Journal and Guide.

Daryl and Jasmine in masks

Emcees Darryl Bell and Jasmine Guy

This year’s UNCF Masked Award honorees include Judge Jerrauld C. Jones, presiding judge of the Virginia Circuit Court; philanthropist Anne B. Shumadine (posthumous); Dr. Colita Nichols Fairfax, professor and Honors College Senior Faculty Fellow at Norfolk State University; and Edward L. Hamm, Jr., president and CEO of E.L. Hamm and Associates.

The event raised more than $250,000 to support HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges) and deserving African American students. The corporate event sponsors and local businesses that support UNCF mission were GEICO, 95.7 FM, Norfolk State University, Virginia Premier and the International Longshoremen’s Association.

geico check

GEICO presenting Scholarship

“It is an honor to serve the community with such a respected organization. Whether attending one of Virginia’s HBCUs such as Virginia Union University [a UNCF-member institution], Hampton, Norfolk State, Virginia State or Virginia University of Lynchburg universities, our goal is to empower our young people to be successful throughout their lives, ensuring better futures for us all,” said Robin Byrd, area development director for UNCF Richmond, the area office that presented the event.

maurice diana and robin

UNCF Staff: L.R. Dianna Ruffin, Development Associate, Maurice Jenkins, EVP & Chief Development Officer, Robin Byrd, Area Development Director

“UNCF has strived to change the HBCU narrative across the nation,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “Events such as the Hampton Roads Mayors’ Masked Ball raise awareness of our mission and equip more students of color with the resources necessary to transition into college, graduate and ultimately expand and diversify America’s highly educated workforce.”

Live entertainment was provided by ensemble Ra Jazz and Strolling Strings, and students from the City of Portsmouth schools. DJ Fresh closed the night out with feel-good tunes for dancing.