Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed hosted the 29th Annual Mayor’s Masked Ball on Saturday, December 15, and with the help of celebrities, dignitaries, civic leaders and public officials, the event raised more than $1 million dollars.
It was Mayor Reed’s third UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball, and the money raised will benefit UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and educational support to minority and low-income students, and its 38 member colleges and universities. The Annual Mayor’s Masked Ball is one of metro Atlanta’s signature fundraising galas and premier social events of the holiday season.
“I strongly believe HBCUs are vital in preparing the next generation of African-American business owners, attorneys, doctors, artists and civic leaders and I am honored that with our annual UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball, we are able to help fund the education of thousands of students matriculating at the Atlanta University Center,” said Reed. “This year’s gala was truly a night to remember, and I thank the UNCF for their unwavering commitment to our nation’s future leaders.”
Mayor Reed co-hosted the Annual Mayor’s Masked Ball with UNCF’s president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax.
“Every year, the Mayor’s Masked Ball brings together Atlanta leaders who are committed to education and to help the next generation of doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, business executives and entrepreneurs get the education they need to compete in a global economy,” said Lomax. “The Mayor’s Masked Ball is a not only a fantastic celebration, but it’s an opportunity for our community to come together to ensure that every child has the opportunity to get to and through college.”
This year’s UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball attracted more than 1,200 attendees, including entertainers from film, television and music, major sports figures, elected officials and civic leaders and volunteers. Mayor Kasim Reed and Dr. Michael Lomax began the evening with a VIP Reception. Following the VIP reception was the signature Parade of Stars and Dignitaries, a dinner, silent auction and the Parade of Masks. Dancing followed as guests enjoyed musical entertainment by legendary national recording soul artists Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.
According to the mayor’s office, this year many celebrities and dignitaries lent their support to the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball including Jasmine Guy and Dawnn Lewis of “The Cosby Show” spin-off “A Different World,” singer Jennifer Holliday, star of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls”; comedian and actor Chris Tucker of the “Rush Hour” franchise and “Silver Linings Playbook”; and Larramie “Doc” Shaw of Disney’s “Pair of Kings” and “The Suite Life On Deck.”
Co-chairs for this year’s ball were Ms. Lovette Russell, community advocate and philanthropist and Mr. Curley Dossman, Jr., president, Georgia Pacific Foundation. The Marquis Sponsors for the ball included Coca Cola Company, Delta Air Lines and UPS. The co-founders of the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball are Ambassador Andrew Young and Ms. Billye Suber Aaron.
In the past six years, UNCF’s Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball has raised almost $10 million to support students who attend Atlanta’s four UNCF member institutions – Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College — as well as Atlanta students attending other UNCF colleges and universities, and all the 60,000 students who attend UNCF member institutions.
Photo: Billye Aaron, who created the Mayor’s MASKED Ball with Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young in 1984, with her husband Hank Aaron enjoying the 2012 ball.