UNCF to Host Columbus Mayor's Masked Ball on March 23rd

Staff Report From Columbus CEO

Monday, February 11th, 2019

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) will host the 14th annual Columbus UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 23 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center. More than 700 guests will attend the major fundraising event, including honorary host Mayor Skip Henderson; U.S. Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-GA); and business, civic and education leaders who support UNCF's mission.

Benefitting historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), UNCF is striving to change the HBCU narrative across the nation by equipping more minority students with the resources necessary to transition into college, graduate and ultimately expand and diversify America's highly educated workforce.

"A college education is more important than ever, but it is more expensive than ever. We are living in a time when official support for getting a college education—state support for state colleges and universities, federal support for Pell Grants and other student aid—is under attack and losing purchasing power," said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. "So that means that more students of color than ever before are looking to UNCF to invest in them. Events like the Columbus UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball helps us meet their needs."

With the help of the Columbus community, more than $10 million was awarded last year in scholarships and programs for UNCF's Georgia member institutions, including Spelman College, Morehouse College, Interdenominational Theological Center, Clark Atlanta University and Paine College. In addition, students received UNCF support at Georgia State University, Emory University, and other Georgia HBCUs, colleges and universities. UNCF's publication, HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, proved that Georgia's HBCUs contributed $1.3 billion in total economic impact and generated more than 12,000 jobs across the state last year.

"The UNCF fundraising campaign in Columbus has been a long-time stalwart of support for our mission," says Justine Boyd, regional development director, UNCF Atlanta. "Although the Mayor's Masked Ball is UNCF's largest fundraiser in Columbus, there are local campaign activities throughout the year, including Giving Tuesday, UNCF Sunday and ongoing support from local clubs and organizations. We can't say enough about the generosity of our friends in Columbus, including Mayor Skip Henderson, and the Mayor's Masked Ball honorary host, Rep. Calvin Smyre."

The local Columbus fundraising campaign for UNCF is led by Cathy Cook, DDS, and a dedicated steering committee. Event sponsors include TSYS, Publix Charities, Cook Dental Care, Buffalo Wild Wings, Pratt and Whitney and many more.

The event program includes two receptions, a "Parade of Masks," elegant dining, presentation of both the UNCF Masked award and the Christine Barksdale Dawson Volunteer award, dancing and live entertainment by The Temptations Revue, featuring Nate Evans. Teresa Whitaker, an anchor for WRBL TV in Columbus, will serve as mistress of ceremonies.