The 36th Annual UNCF Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball exceeded its own record-breaking fundraising of 2018 by bringing in more than $1.4 million during the 2019 event. Florida A&M University alumnae Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms hosted her second Ball for UNCF-member institutions. The sold-out signature fundraising event had more than 1,300 attendees, including UNCF president Dr, Michael L. Lomax, co-chairs Helen Smith Price, Coca-Cola Vice President of Global Community Affairs and President of the Coca-Cola Foundation and Eduardo Martinez, President, The UPS Foundation and UPS Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Ball co-founders Mrs. Billye Suber Aaron and Ambassador Andrew Young; and UNCF-member institution presidents Dr. David A. Thomas (Morehouse College), Dr. George T. French, (Clark Atlanta University) and Rev. Matthew Wesley Williams, (Interdenominational Theological Center). The Ball culminates the activities for UNCF’s 75th anniversary.
“The Atlanta Masked Ball is UNCF’s signature event and a significant opportunity to keep students in school and help them graduate and go on to secure successful careers. It is always a spectacular evening, and we are grateful to the Mayor, other notables and leaders of Atlanta, who shared in our efforts to raise vital funds for HBCU students attending UNCF member schools in Atlanta,” said Dr. Lomax.
Ball highlights included the presentation of the MASKED award to rapper, songwriter, record producer and record executive Jermaine Dupri for his contributions to UNCF, a spectacular main performance by Charlie Wilson, a VIP Masked Award reception, silent and live auctions, elegant dining and dancing and entertainment by Clark Atlanta University Jazz Band. A host of celebrities, dignitaries and influencers attended, including Tamron Hall as mistress of ceremonies, honoree Jermaine Dupri, Morris Chestnut, Shaquille O’Neal, Lynn Whitfield, Chris Tucker, Tyrese Gibson, Louis Gossett Jr., 2Chainz, Ronnie and Shamari DeVoe, Kandi and Todd Tucker, Demetria McKinney, Terri J. Vaughn, Killer Mike, Tanya Sam, Frank Ski, Ryan Glover, Bishop William Murphy III, Pastor Jamal Bryant, and Gizelle and Cherelle.
“I am eternally grateful to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the entire Atlanta community for the generosity and support we continue to receive that is imperative to the work of UNCF and our attempt to change lives,” said Justine Boyd, UNCF Regional Development Director, who added “It is an honor to live in a city that gives abundantly and to work for an organization that levels the playing field for underserved students.”
An unforgettable moment during the Ball was when music mogul Jermaine Dupri was introduced by Chris Tucker and presented with the UNCF MASKED Award–an acronym coined by Mrs. Aaron, meaning Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams. This year, UNCF renamed the award the Billye Suber Aaron Masked Award in her honor.
Founded by Ambassador Young, who was Mayor of Atlanta at the time and Mrs. 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. Understanding the hardships facing college students, Mrs. Aaron created the Billye Suber Aaron Legacy Scholarship, which has raised $1.2 million in scholarships since its creation.
The premier Atlanta event was made possible by top sponsors Hank and Billye Suber Aaron, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, UPS and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Special thanks were extended to Southwest Airlines, the air carrier for the event’s entertainment.