Columbus UNCF kicks off its annual fundraising scholarship efforts

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Columbus Mayor's Masked Ball will be held in March of 2017 as the United Negro College Fund's main fundraising event but on Tuesday, local organizers held a luncheon to kick off the campaign.

The UNCF enables more than 60,000 students across the country to attend college. Community leaders and supporters of the campaign came together at Columbus' Green Island Country Club Tuesday afternoon to start generating funds for students to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Brandon Baker, a graduate of Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia told the audience he was on the verge of dropping out of college due to a lack of funds until UNCF stepped in to help.

Brandon is now a graduating senior at Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in electrical engineering as his second BS degree. It's students like Brandon who UNCF endeavors to assist in obtaining an education which reinforces the importance of the organization's motto: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson who was also in attendance said,"these HBCU's provide a particular environment and the students who come out of these colleges and universities are leaders and they go out and perform because they've never been told they can't or the shouldn't, they've only been told they're able."

The event's keynote speaker was Rev. Dr. L.K. Pendleton, Senior Pastor at St. Mary's Road United Methodist Church in Columbus.

This year's goal for the Columbus chapter is to raise $200,000. Last year in Georgia, $5 million was collected which helped send 579 students to an institution of higher learning. Nationally, 17,500 recipients were awarded $108,000 in scholarships, according to UNCF.

Tickets for the Mayor's Masked Ball to be held Saturday, March 17, 2017, can be purchased for $150.00 with proceeds going towards the scholarship campaign.

For more information on purchasing tickets or to make contributions contact Justine Boyd, Regional Development Director @ or at 404-302-8323.

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. For more news, download the WTVM app here.