The 35th Annual UNCF Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball, the inaugural for Florida A & M University alumnae Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, again exceeds the United Negro College Fund’s event record — raising more than $1.35 million for UNCF member-institutions last weekend.More than 1,300 attended the sold-out signature fundraising event including UNCF president Michael L. Lomax, honorary co-chairs and Ball founders  Billye Aaron and Ambassador Andrew Young; corporate honorees Rodney Bullard, vice president of community affairs at Chick-fil-A Inc.; Ted Blum, managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Atlanta office; and UNCF member-institution presidents Dr. Mary Schmidt-Campbell of Spelman College; Dr. David Thomas, Morehouse College; acting president Lucille Mauge’ of Clark Atlanta University; and Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice of the Morehouse College School of Medicine.“One of the unique assets of Atlanta is its extraordinary Atlanta University Center (AUC) — the largest consortium of private HBCUs in the nation,” said Lomax.

“For a century and a half, the institutions of the AUC have been producing generations of talented and educated grads, who have been prepared for careers, active citizenship and leadership. UNCF awards more than $100,000 each year in scholarships to more than 600 area students, securing a better future for us all, as many of these students and the HBCUs they attend contribute significantly to the local economy. According to a study commissioned by UNCF, Georgia’s nine HBCUs contribute $1.3 billion to the total economic impact and produce 12,040 area job.”

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Music mogul Jermaine Dupri donated $50,000, and rapper Jeezy followed up with $10,000 during the Fund the Mission part of the evening, while several other celebrities pledged donations totaling $100,000. Bell Biv Devoe (Ricky Bello, Michael Bivens and Ronnie Devoe) and CAU Jazz Band performed during the ball.“As we celebrate 35 years, we appreciate the contributions of our Atlanta community who always support us in a big way,” said Justine Boyd, regional director, UNCF. “With the support of our corporate sponsors, volunteers, and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in her inaugural year as host, we continue to go beyond expectations to support deserving students and our 37 UNCF-member institutions, four of which are in Atlanta.”Founded 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 financial support they have received.