ABOVE PHOTO: Lovely ladies in the Parade of Masks during the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball. (Photo: Robert Mendelsohn)
Mayor Jim Kenney to host the annual Philadelphia UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball benefiting local students and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Throughout the past 75 years, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) has helped nearly half a million students earn college degrees. As the largest and most effective minority education organization in the United States, UNCF also actively supports 37 private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and advocates for minority higher education. As it marks such a major milestone, UNCF is planning a year-long celebration via its fundraising events across the country, including the annual Philadelphia UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball set for 7 p.m., Saturday, March 23 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
More than 700 guests are expected to attend, including event host, the Honorable Jim Kenney, mayor, City of Philadelphia. Event co-chairs are Stephanie Mays Boyd, vice president of sales and marketing, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority; Ric Harris, president and general manager, NBC10/Telemundo62; Alycia Horn, vice president and deputy general counsel, Comcast Cable; Joe H. Tucker, Jr., founder and managing partner, Tucker Law Group; and Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF.
“I am pleased to host the UNCF Mayors’ Masked Ball again this year. Last year, we raised more than $491,000, and this year’s goal is $600,000. This event is important because it supports education for minority students,” said Kenney. “Many sponsors have invested in the work of UNCF to ensure that more students from the Philadelphia Region can receive a college education at an HBCU, like Cheyney and Lincoln Universities, and other colleges and universities in our region like Temple, St. Joseph’s, University of Pennsylvania, Community College of Philadelphia and Drexel. For this, I am very grateful. Investing in the college education of our young people will impact Philadelphia for many generations.”
“The investment in our students and our HBCUs is invaluable,” said Lomax. “We are bringing key stakeholders together to change the narrative about HBCUs and forge better futures for deserving students and, through them, for all of us.”
Benefiting HBCUs and students of color, events like Philadelphia Mayor’s Masked Ball helped UNCF gain the resources to provide more than $3.4 million in scholarships last year to students from Philadelphia. “For every scholarship UNCF gives a student, there are nine other students we must turn away,” said Gregory Lyles, area development director, UNCF. “UNCF is committed to providing as many students as possible with the necessary tools to improve their lives, and the Philadelphia Mayor’s Masked Ball helps to ensure they go to and through college successfully.”
The economic benefits of HBCUs extend beyond the students they educate and are equally important to the communities they serve. With the release of UNCF’s landmark study, “HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” it is now known that Pennsylvania’s two HBCUs annually generate $206 million in total economic impact and 1,660 jobs for the state.
This year, UNCF will honor Comcast Corporation, Robert W. Bogle, president and CEO, Philadelphia Tribune, and Wells Fargo with the UNCF Masked Award for being beacons of hope and supporters of its mission. This year’s event marquis sponsor is Independence Blue Cross; presenting sponsors are Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, Comcast Corporation, NBC10/Telemundo62 and Flyers Charities, Parx Casino, PECO and AmeriHealth Caritas. Co-sponsors are Lincoln Financial, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America and TD Bank. Jacqueline London and Brittney Shipp of NBC10 will serve as the event emcees.
The signature black-tie gala will feature a VIP reception, live and silent auctions and music by DJ Gary O. Follow this event on social media at: @UNCF, #UNCFPhiladelphia, #UNCF, and #UNCF75.