The United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Annual Mayor’s Masked Ball is a premier fundraising and social affair, and last year’s event was a spectacle. This great cause of humanity is described to incorporate celebrities, dignitaries, civic leaders, public officials, volunteers, and others in the annual local fundraising activities of UNCF.

Hosted on December 17, 2011 at the luxurious Marriott Marquis Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia by the sitting Mayor of the city and local corporate sponsors, the annual event gave minority students of the Atlanta University School system hope towards matriculation in the final coursework for their college degree.

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Living up to their motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” the UNCF annually provides 10,000 students with 400 scholarship and internship programs in order for low to moderate income families to afford the luxury of attending college. Last year’s Annual Masked Ball event dedicated $1.2 million dollars for these very efforts.

“We generally give back to a whole array of educational initiatives,” said Bill Hawthorne, Macy’s chief diversity officer whose company donated $50,000 to the cause. “In the course of that giving though, we want to make sure that we are specifically supporting those institutions that were devoted to the [Black, minority, underserved] or lower- income community. The UNCF is one such organization.”

Representatives of other donors who attended the event were Anheuser-Busch Inc., UPS, Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines, who all donated a total of $225,000 respectfully.

“Students at our Atlanta UNCF member colleges and universities, and Atlanta students attending other UNCF institutions, look to UNCF for help getting the education they need and deserve,” said Maurice E. Jenkins Jr., UNCF executive vice president stated about the organization.

It is clear that historically black colleges and universities still have major significance and importance within the black community that is invaluable toward preparing this along with the next generation to success and happiness.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who credits attending a historically black university for helping him become the city’s Mayor, said, “I strongly believe HBCUs are vital in preparing the next generation of African-American business owners, attorneys, doctors, artists and civic leaders. I am a proud Howard University alumnus, and I believe I am the 59th mayor of Atlanta in large part because of my experiences there as both an undergraduate and law school student.”

With men and women required to wear black ties and long dresses to the event, the ball was celebrated for a great cause, to ensure the future of the black leaders of tomorrow.