UNCF Raises More Than $500K for HBCUs and Deserving Students at New York “A Mind Is…” Gala
UNCF celebrated its 75th anniversary just a few days ago in the Big Apple. While always a significant player in the organization’s fundraising efforts, New York City has also had a unique tie to UNCF — 75 years ago, the organization was founded and incorporated there with the help of many noted business leaders and philanthropists of the time.
The March 21 event honoring supportive New York corporations and philanthropists, including longtime UNCF advocate and education change-maker former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, raised more than a half a million dollars to invest in UNCF’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the deserving students that attend them. The event was presented by UNCF New York.
Edward Lewis, co-founder of Essence magazine, served as honorary co-chair, during which Bloomberg accepted the UNCF Lifetime Achievement Award for being a long-time advocate of UNCF. The UNCF Shirley Chisholm Award was presented to CUNY Trustee Dr. Una S.T. Clarke by her daughter, U.S. Rep Yvette Clark (D-NY). For its continuous support over the years, Delta Air Lines was honored with the UNCF Corporate Partner Award.
“There are millions of Americans who, over 75 years, have invested in UNCF and better futures for our students, and through that success, for all of us,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “Tonight, we raised the resources our HBCUs need to do their invaluable work. Tonight, we fund scholarships that narrow the gap between college costs and family resources. And together, we change the narrative of our HBCUs, which help strengthen and elevate a new generation of young, black and gifted students.”
“Our honorees have partnered with UNCF to strengthen our HBCUs and further our mission of securing better futures for us all,” said Diego Aviles, vice president of development, UNCF. “Their contributions to education for the underrepresented have opened the doors to a college education for students who could not otherwise have afforded it.”
Since its founding, UNCF has raised more than $4.8 billion and has helped nearly half a million students earn college degrees at UNCF-member HBCUs. “There’s another message in UNCF’s 75th anniversary celebration,” Lomax added. “In a country whose population is rapidly trending majority-minority, and at a time when a college education is more important — and more expensive — than ever, UNCF’s biggest challenges are ahead.” UNCF annually awards more than 10,000 scholarships, Lomax noted, but for every scholarship it awards, it must turn away nine potential leaders for lack of funding. “We owe — and our country owes — those nine the support they need to go to and through college,” Lomax said. “As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, we commit to fulfilling that obligation.”
More than 350 people attended the celebration, including state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-NY); Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr. (New York City); Philanthropist, Jean Shafiroff (who wore a custom B. Michael gown) and HBCU Jackson State alumnus Demarco Morgan, CBS correspondent. Major event sponsors were Delta Air Lines and Citi. Grammy® Award-winning artist Christopher Jackson finished the evening with a rendition of Nina Simone’s “To be Young, Gifted and Black.”