“A Mind Is…”® New York Gala to Celebrate UNCF’s 80th Anniversary

Prominent HBCU Alumni Kim Godwin and Kevin Liles lead UNCF’s 80th Anniversary Celebration honoring Fawn Weaver, ESSENCE and Tony Signore to raise funds for HBCUs and their students.

New York, NY, Feb. 28, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — UNCF (United Negro College Fund) will celebrate its milestone 80th anniversary during “A Mind Is…”® Gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City on Thursday, March 21, 2024. The Gala, which will be part of a year-long 80th anniversary celebration, will be hosted by Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF, and honorary chairs, Kim Godwin, president, ABC News, and Kevin Liles, chairman and CEO, 300 Elektra Entertainment. Both Kim and Kevin are HBCU alumni, respectively of Florida A&M and Morgan State University.

Since 1944, UNCF has strived to change the HBCU narrative across the nation by equipping more HBCU students with the resources necessary to transition into college, graduate and ultimately establish careers that will build better futures for themselves and our society. The New York “A Mind Is…”® Gala will recognize outstanding partners who help the organization effectuate this mission.

UNCF will present the “Leadership Award” to Tony Signore, CEO and managing partner, Taylor Global, and founder of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship; the “Shirley Chisholm Award” to Fawn Weaver, CEO and founder, Uncle Nearest, Inc.; and the “Trailblazer Award” to ESSENCE which will be accepted by Caroline Wanga, president and CEO, Essence Ventures. Proceeds from the gala will support UNCF-member HBCUs and college students from across New York and the United States.

Entertainment for the night will be provided by WanMor, breakthrough R&B quartet group signed to Mary J. Blige’s imprint, Beautiful Life Productions and 300 Entertainment; and Michelle Miller, co-host of CBS Saturday Morning, will serve as emcee for the evening. 

“Since we were founded in 1944, UNCF has fueled HBCUs with vital resources to educate generations of African American and other minority students,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF.

“This year marks our 80th anniversary. Our theme is ‘Honoring the Legacy, Transforming our Future.’ We will acknowledge and celebrate our founders, donors and philanthropic partners over the last eight decades. And we will be encouraging and transforming the next generation through education to achieve greater successes for our community and this nation. UNCF and HBCUs matter now more than ever as our students and institutions need ongoing support. I encourage you to invest in UNCF so together we can invest in and build future generations of Black college students who will lead this nation and contribute to our economy. Events like our ‘A Mind Is…’ New York Gala help us do just that,” said Lomax.

“For more than eight decades, UNCF has brought individuals of all backgrounds together to ensure that HBCUs and their students have access to a college education that prepares them to be leaders in our nation and serve as everyday heroes in their local communities,” said Diego Aviles, vice president, Northeast Division, UNCF.

Current sponsors include platinum sponsor, Taylor Global; gold sponsors, Delta Air Lines and PepsiCo; silver sponsors, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citi, Colgate-Palmolive Company, MetLife, Moody’s, NBA, Ralph Lauren, and Sony Corporation of America; and bronze sponsors, NFL, Paramount, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of New York, Schroders and TIAA.

To learn more, register for the 80th Anniversary UNCF Gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on Thursday, March 21 (6:00 – 9:00 pm) or donate, please visit UNCF.org/NewYorkGala or contact Warren Williams at warren.williams@uncf.org.


About UNCF
UNCF (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. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. 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 50,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

CONTACT: Diego Aviles
United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF)