( ENSPIRE Features ) UNCF Chicago Hosted The 23rd Annual “A Mind Is” Gala with Chicago Notables in Attendance & Raised Vital Funds to Support HBCUs
ENSPIRE Contributor: Wesley Tran
On June 17th, the 23rd Annual “A Mind Is” Gala took place at the Hyatt Regency. It hosted a Blue carpet reception with honorees Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Cubs and Marcus Bullock, and UNCF’s 2023 Mastermind Class and CEO, UNCF. Among the many Chicago notable celebrities that attended the UNCF Gala, Actor Michael Epps from Showtime’s Hit TV Series “The Chi” was one that caught the eyes of many. Additionally, highlights from the inaugural night included Chicago Cubs Chairman Thomas Rickett accepting the corporate award on behalf of the Cubs and praising the partnership with UNCF and its impact. Hosted by Fox News Anchor Anita Blanton and WGCI’s hostTrey White, UNCF Chicago highlighted the mastermind class that included past recipients of the UNCF scholarships such as law student Lamariah Smith, Khary Armster, and young upcoming masterminds Justin Cunningham of Socialworks, Astin Hayes of Remy Cointreau and more. In addition, this year’s event’s partners were co-chair Noil Corp, Inc and more. Furthermore, next year’s gala will celebrate 80 years of UNhF with a plethora of special guests.
“For more than 79 years, UNCF has fueled HBCUs with vital resources to educate generations of minority students. During the continuing unprecedented health and racial pandemics occurring, our students and institutions need support now more than ever. We are at risk of washing away a generation of talented and deserving African American and minority students. We are asking for as many donations as possible because the students we help now will be our next generation. They will be doctors, nurses, biologists, virologists, .. the pandemic front liners of the future. Thank you to everyone in Chicago that participated in the “A Mind Is” Gala to help ensure better futures for us all,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, of UNCF. Among the people who were at the event, here are a few of them along with photos!
In the above photo, Christal Stinson, the Regional Development Director in the Chicago Region; Lisa Rollins, the Regional Workplace Director; Julian Green, the Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs; Carl Washington, the Area Development Director; and Fred Mitchell, the Vice President-Midwest Division stand together. Some other important figures that attended the event were Jahkil Jackson – Founder of Project I Am and Toni Preckwinkle, the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. In addition, the Southland College Prep High School Chorus & Dance Team of Richton Park gave an amazing performance. They were directed by Fred Nelson, III Musical Director, and Superintendent Dr. Blondean Davis.
Secondly, in the above photo, Michael Epps, an Actor for the Showtime TV Series “The Chi”; Keisha Epps, a Social Influencer; and Dr. Blondean Davis, the Superintendent & District 162 CEO of Southland College Prep pose together to commemorate the occasion. Others such as Anita Blanton an Anchor for Fox 32 Chicago and Trey White (Emcee) of Radio Personality created priceless memories. In addition, the event included people such as Lisa Rollins, Christal Stinson, Marcus Bullock, Julian Green, and many many more.
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. The organization 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 scholarships, internships and fellowships, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 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.”®