Sold out Atlanta gala brings out the Who’s Who in Atlanta; Spectacular performance by Tyrese Gibson, who helped raise $100,000 through the fund the mission appeal
The Who’s Who of Atlanta attended the 34th annual UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball. More than $1.3 million was raised for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), a record-breaking achievement for the gala founded in 1983. The sold-out signature fundraising event, had more than 1,200 attendees, including host Mayor Kasim Reed, Mayor-elect Keisha Lance Bottoms, UNCF President Michael L. Lomax, corporate co-chairs Rodney Bullard, vice president of community affairs at Chick-fil-A, Inc.; Ted Blum, managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Atlanta office; Wendy Stewart, president of Bank of America Atlanta division; and celebrity co-host actor/singer Tyrese Gibson, who helped raise $100,000 through a fund the mission appeal.
“Every year, the Atlanta community’s contribution surpasses my expectation,” said Justine Boyd, regional director, UNCF. “With the support of our corporate sponsors, volunteers, and the steadfast commitment of Mayor Kasim Reed, who has led the charge for the past eight years, we continue to raise the bar in providing resources to deserving students and our 37 UNCF member institutions, four of which are in Atlanta.”
Masked awards were presented to last year’s co-chairs Brannigan Thompson, senior vice president, Voya Financial; Donta’ Wilson, senior executive vice president and chief client experience officer, BB&T; and Mayor Reed, who passed the torch to Mayor-elect Bottoms, representing the change of guard of the ball.
“It has been an honor to have Mayor Reed spearhead our efforts in improving the lives of the next generation of leaders,” said Lomax. “Trailblazers, like Mayor Reed, Mayor-elect Bottoms, both HBCU graduates and newly appointed Randall Woodfin, mayor of Birmingham and Morehouse alum, play an integral role in changing the narrative of HBCUs and the work we do at UNCF.”
Founded 34 years ago by former mayor Andrew Young and Billye S. Aaron, educating students has always been at the forefront of the event’s mission. With the success of the UNCF Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball, thousands of students have a brighter future because of the support they have received. More than 600 students in the past few years attending UNCF member schools were either able to attend college and/or continue their college education without the interruption of financial challenges. Understanding the hardships facing college students, Mrs. Aaron created the Billye Suber Legacy Aaron fund, which has raised $1.2 million in scholarships.
Ball highlights included a performance by Tyrese Gibson, VIP Masked Award reception, silent auction, a parade of stars, elegant dining, dancing, entertainment by Clark Atlanta University Jazz Band and Ron Clarke Academy. A host of celebrities, dignitaries and influencers attended, including UNCF Birmingham Mayor’s Masked Ball host Mayor Randall Woodfin, Chris Tucker, Stephanie Mills, Young Jeezy, Keisha Knight Pulliam (Spelman), Dominique Wilkins, Hank and Billye Aaron, Ambassador Andrew Young and Carolyn Young, Dr. Heavenly Kimes, Dr. Jackie Walters, Quad Webb Lunceford, Ryan Glover, Phaedra Parks, Coco Brown, Jasmine Stewart, Maria Boynton, Miss National UNCF, and past and president college presidents representing Clark Atlanta, ITC, Morehouse, Spelman, Wiley, Johnson C. Smith, Shaw University, Atlanta Metropolitan College and Morehouse School of Medicine.
The extraordinary event was made possible by marquis sponsor, Chick-Fil-A and premiere sponsors The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Airlines, UPS and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.