UNCF Lights the Way to Better Futures Through Education at the Annual “A Mind Is” Gala on March 6 in New York City

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Event will honor Ambassador Andrew J. Young, McDonald’s Corporation/National Black McDonald’s Operators Association, and General Motors Company/GM United Automobile Workers.

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UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) will celebrate its 70th anniversary by bringing together educators business and civic leaders and supporters of education from across the country on March 6th at its annual UNCF “A Mind Is” Gala. The fundraising event, which will be held at the New York Hilton located at 1335 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, benefits the more than 60,000 students each year who receive UNCF scholarships and attend UNCF’s 37 member historically black colleges and universities and more than 900 colleges and universities across the country.

“Tonight is a night to honor and celebrate all we have achieved together, but the expense of a college education means that we are in danger of losing the very students we need to be our next generation of leaders;” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., president and CEO, UNCF. “We need to continue our investment in our young people and our historically black colleges and universities to ensure a better future for them, and for all of us.”

NBC Today show co-host Tamron Hall will host the gala, which will include a performance by UNCF student Diamonique Jackson, who gave an electrifying performance with Yolanda Adams at the 2013 UNCF An Evening of Stars® television program. The event will also include an invocation by Dr. Edward P. Wemberly, interim president of UNCF Member Institution the Interdenominational Theological Center, and acknowledgement of presidents from UNCF’s 37 Member Institutions honoring the partnership these institutions have with UNCF in ensuring that HBCU’s remain a cornerstone of UNCF’s mission to increase the number of qualified African American college graduates who are ready to become tomorrow’s leaders.

The UNCF “A Mind Is” Gala will also continue its tradition of honoring noted civic, education, and business leaders for their game changing advocacy on behalf of education through partnerships with UNCF and their own work. Past honorees have included Teach for America Corps African American members, Vernon E. Jordan, Young & Rubicam, and the Ad Council. In 2014, Ingrid Saunders Jones of the Coca-Cola Company received the UNCF President’s Award, and the Rev. Calvin O. Butts received the Shirley Chisholm Community Service Award.

This year, Ambassador Andrew J. Young will receive the UNCF Lifetime Achievement Award. The UNCF President’s award will be presented to the McDonald’s Corporation/National Black McDonald’s Operators Association and the General Motors Company/General Motors United Automobile Workers.

Ambassador Andrew J. Young will receive the UNCF Lifetime Achievement Award for his long legacy of service. An icon of the civil rights movement, Young has served as mayor of Atlanta, a Member of Congress, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He has been a longtime supporter of UNCF, whose commitment led to the founding – with Billye Aaron of Atlanta’s Mayor’s Masked Ball an event that is now a signature fundraising event in communities across the country.

The McDonald’s Corporation and the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association will receive the UNCF President’s Award for their support of UNCF and its 37 member Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as for their support of the UNCF An Evening of Stars® television broadcast.

The General Motors Company and the General Motors United Automobile Workers will receive the UNCF President’s Award for their commitment to providing young people with the support they need to get to and through college. The General Motors Company has set a national standard for corporate citizenship, and has been a longstanding community leader in support of education. The General Motors United Automobile Workers has also committed itself to education, and has been a strong support of the Detroit UNCF Walk for Education.

The gala will also highlight and provide an opportunity to contribute to UNCF’s Campaign for Emergency Student Aid (CESA.) Created in 2009, CESA provides scholarships that aid students facing financial shortfalls that threaten their ability to stay in college and graduate. To date, more than 6,000 donors have contributed more than $14 million to help more than 8,000 students stay in school.

Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has raised more than $3.6 billion and helped more than 400,000 students secure college degrees. Each year, in addition to supporting its member institutions and their students, UNCF awards more than 13,000 scholarships and advocates for the right of low income and minority students to receive a good education from preschool through college graduation.

The UNCF “A Mind Is” Gala is co-chaired by Bertrand Camus, president and CEO, United Water and Suez Environment North America, and David Michael P. Norris, COO and market president of Corporate, Sodexo North America.

About UNCF:

UNCF—the United Negro College Fund—is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."® Learn more at http://www.UNCF.org.

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