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March 31 is a big day for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in Hampton Roads. For several months, a committee of community volunteers has been working hard to ensure the debut of the Masked Mayors’ Ball at the Main Hotel in Norfolk is a grand success.
For some 30 years, UNCF has been hosting the popular scholarship fundraiser in cities across the nation. For example, on February 24 fundraising Black-tie Mayor’s Masked Balls were held in Birmingham, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
But the city with the longest running Mayor’s Masked Ball is in Atlanta, Ga., where more than 1,200 attendees gathered on December 21, 2017 for the city’s 34th annual UNCF signature event. More than $1.3 million dollars were raised for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The galas are designed to raise public awareness and generate large corporate and individual donations to support deserving area students. The events garner support from a diverse group of elected officials and community influencers, including honorable hosts who support UNCF’s mission of investing in better futures by getting students to and through college.
Guests to the March 31st event will be welcomed by Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., President and CEO of the UNCF. It is is being hosted by fthe mayors of five Hampton Roads cities – Mayor Kenneth C. Alexander of Norfolk; Mayor McKinley Price, DDS of Newport News; Mayor John L. Rowe, Jr., of Portsmouth; Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr., of Virginia Beach; and Mayor Donnie Tuck of Hampton.
Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs are Mark A. Johnson, Sun Trust’s Vice President, Community Development Manager for Hampton Roads, and Toiya Sosa, GEICO’s Regional Public Affairs /Community Relations officer.
“Events such as these, stress the importance of HBCUs,” said Dr. Lomax, UNCFs president and CEO. “HBCUs not only provide a college education for 300,000 students every year, but they are a powerful economic engine: locally, through the jobs they create and the expenditures they make in the cities where they are located, and nationally, through the students they educate and prepare for an information-age workforce.”
UNCF’s new publication, HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, stressed that graduates from the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities generate $14.8 billion annually in total economic impact.
The Hampton Roads Masked Mayors Ball is coordinated by the Richmond UNCF office and is being directed by Tiffany L. Jones, Area Development Director of the Charlotte, North Carolina UNCF Office.
Presently, Virginia has only one UNCF school, Virginia Union University in Richmond. However, many Hampton Roads residents are UNCF graduates and have children or relatives who presently attend these 37 schools which are located mainly in states throughout the South. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country.
Attended by prominent individuals and supporters, these UNCF events across the nation also pay homage to members of the community who are trailblazers, continuing the fight for all students to be afforded the opportunity of a high-quality education.
Five awards will be given during the Hampton Roads gala; individual awards to Dr. L.D. Britt, EVMS, and Developer Bruce Thompson, Chief Exceutive Officer, Gold Key/PHR. Corporate awards will go to the Access College Foundation, The Decker Family, and Sentara Healthcare,
Local ball highlights will feature a silent and live auction; a VIP Masked Reception; celebrity guests; a parade of stars and dignitaries; elegant dining; and dancing by the Fuzz Band.
These signature fundraisers culminate the end of a successful campaign geared toward shedding light on the lack of resources available for minorities to get to and through college. Visit: UNCF Events to view images from past celebrations.
For more information, call UNCF at (804) 359-1581 or contact Tiffany Jones at tiffany.jones@UNCF.org.
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, 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 percent of African-American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and 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 more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “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.