Atlanta celebrated the 40th year of the Mayor’s Masked Ball this weekend. Launched in 1983 by Ambassador Andrew Young and Billye Aaron, the annual black-tie affair is an acronym that stands for Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams and supports UNCF initiatives.
Since its start, Atlanta’s event has inspired 18 other cities to do similar ceremonies and has raised over $24 million since 2000. Over $2.3 million has been raised this year for Atlanta-based HBCUs Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta University.
This year’s event was emceed by Karyn Greer and was hosted by Mayor Andre Dickens, Dr. Michael L. Lomax, Maurice E. Jenkins (UNCF), Therese Badon (UNCF), and Justine Norman Boyd (UNCF).
Sen. Raphael Warnock and Ambassador Young was also in attendance. Billye Aaron also shared a virtual message.
Nicole “Nikki” Clifton of UPS served as honorary chair.
Mayor Dickens shared his thoughts on the importance of the annual affair.
“Atlanta residents and businesses have stepped up big this year,” Dickens said. “We would like to close out our 2023 by stepping up for our young scholars. The Mayor’s Masked Ball is so much more than a great dinner and a great time. It is a chance for us to make a difference in a student’s life. I’m understanding that we have raised more than $2.3 million. That’s the largest amount in the history of the United Negro College Fund. I thank every last one of you for coming out tonight and for continuing to support this worthy cause. As the UNCF motto says, ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.’ Thank you everybody.”
Following the campaign, legendary singer Stephanie Mills performed hits from her illustrious career including songs “Never Knew Love Like This,” “A Rush On Me,” and “Home.”
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