Social justice champion Stacey Abrams, Starbucks Board Chair Mellody Hobson, and Philanthropist Michael Bloomberg highlight fundraising event to deliver impact to both HBCUs and their students


The annual UNCF “A Mind Is…” New York Gala is moving online this year, set for 7 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 4. The virtual fundraising event will feature longtime UNCF supporter Michael Bloomberg, Starbucks Board Chair Mellody Hobson, co-CEO, Ariel Investments, HBCU alumna Stacey Abrams and other select speakers, awards presentations, and musical performances, by Grammy® Award-nominated singer, Kenny Lattimore, and Roc Nation Records recording artist, Infinity Song. Proceeds will benefit talented and deserving students across New York and the United States who lack the financial support to get to and through college, as well as UNCF’s 37 member historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).


This year’s honorees, who are being recognized for helping to advance educational opportunities for African Americans, include Thasunda Brown Duckett, former CEO, Chase Consumer Banking and incoming President and CEO, TIAA, who will be presented the Leadership Award; PepsiCo, which will be presented the Corporate Partner Award; and Dennis M. Walcott, president and CEO, Queens Public Library, who will be presented the Shirley Chisholm Award for Community Service.


The UNCF “A Mind Is…” New York Gala is open to the public. Corporations can participate as sponsors and individuals at various giving levels. “We want to ensure that anyone who wants to be a part of this celebration and make a difference in the life a young person can do so at a level that is meaningful to them,” said Diego Aviles, vice president of development, UNCF.


HBCU alumna, Michelle Miller, co-host of “CBS This Morning: Saturday,” will join as the host for the evening. Miller is an esteemed graduate of Howard University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism.


Current sponsors of the upcoming gala include presenting sponsor, JPMorgan Chase; and gold sponsors, American Express, Bloomberg Philanthropies, BNY Mellon, Citi, Colgate-Palmolive Company, PepsiCo and Taylor Strategy.


“For more than 76 years, UNCF has fueled HBCUs with vital resources to educate generations of African American and other minority students,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “During an unprecedented time in our history compounded by COVID-19 and racial disparities, our students and institutions are faced with enormous challenges. We are at risk of washing away a generation of talented and deserving African American and minority students. We need as many donations as possible right now because the students we help today will be our next generation of doctors, nurses, biologists, virologists, epidemiologists—the pandemic frontliners of the future. We invite everyone in the New York area to join our virtual “A Mind Is…” Gala to help ensure better futures for us all.”


To learn more, register for the event or donate, please visit or contact Diego Aviles at [email protected]




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. UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% 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 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 or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.