Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's final UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball in office attracted a star-studded crowd of more than 1,200 and raised more than $1.3 million for historically black colleges and universities.
"Every year, the Atlanta community's contribution surpasses my expectation, " UNCF Regional Development Director Justine Boyd said in a statement after the Dec. 16 event. "With the support of our corporate sponsors, volunteers and the steadfast commitment of Mayor Kasim Reed, who has led the charge for the past eight years, we continue to raise the bar in providing resources to deserving students and our 37 UNCF-member institutions, four of which are in Atlanta."
Guests included broadcaster Maria Boynton, actress Coco Brown, MARTA board member Ryan Glover, rapper Jeezy, singer Stephanie Mills, attorney and former "Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast member Phaedra Parks, actress (and Spelman College alum) Keisha Knight Pulliam, Masterchef Junior champ Jasmine Stewart , actor Chris Tucker, longtime Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins, Birmingham Mayor (and Morehouse College alum) Randall Woodfin, and "Married to Medicine" cast members Dr. Heavenly Kimes, Dr. Jackie Walters and Quad Webb Lunceford.
Sponsors included Chick-Fil-A ( which the following day sprang into action and donated more than 5,300 sandwiches to travelers stranded by the airport power outage, even though the chain is usually closed on Sundays) , along with the Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines, UPS and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, where the gala was held.
Rodney Bullard, Chickfil-A's vice president of community affairs and executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation; Ted Blum, managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig's Atlanta office and chair of the firm's Atlanta Corporate and Securities Practice; and Wendy Stewart, president of the Atlanta Market Bank of America, served as honorary co-chairs. Honorary celebrity co-chair Tyrese Gibson performed, as did the Clark Atlanta University Jazz Band and students from Ron Clark Academy.
Here's a clip Tyrese - who was with Mayor Reed at Mayor-elect Bottoms' election night party last month - posted after the event:
The sold-out formal event featured a "changing of the guard" moment as Reed passed the torch to his successor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
"It has been an honor to have Mayor Reed spearhead our efforts in improving the lives of the next generation of leaders, " UNCF President Michael L. Lomax said in a statement. "Trailblazers like Mayor Reed and Mayor-elect Bottoms, both HBCU graduates, play an integral role in changing the narrative of HBCUs and the work we do at UNCF."
Masked awards were presented to last year's co-chairs, Brannigan Thompson, senior vice president of Voya Financial; Donta' Wilson, senior executive vice president and chief client experience officer at BB&T; and Reed.
The event was founded 34 years ago by former Atlanta Mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, who attended with his wife Carolyn Young, and Billye S. Aaron, who attended with her husband, Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron.