From dazzling masks and gowns to deep felt speeches that inspired, the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball on Saturday, March 7th was an evening to remember.

The Mayor’s Masked Ball is an annual fundraiser for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the largest and most effective minority education organization in the US, that actively supports 37 private historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and advocates for minority higher education. “Events such as the Philadelphia UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball raise awareness of our mission and equip more students of color with the resources necessary to transition into college, graduate and ultimately expand and diversify America’s highly educated workforce” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF.

Omar Ford Bey, a UNCF scholarship recipient, addressed the sold-out audience and highlighted the importance of investing in a young person’s future.

“During my studies, I have taken a few accounting classes, so I know a little bit about stocks.  I know if you want your stocks to be worth anything and grow….you have to invest. Investing means you believe in something. I stand before you today as living proof that investing in a student now, can make a real difference in the future. My story has a past, I was raised in a single parent household, after losing my father to illness when I was 9 years old. Through the obvious struggles of a single-income household and helping raise a younger sister, I still managed to find my way to Girard College. My story has a future, I am a 2013 graduate of Livingstone College. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a major in Accounting and minor in Computer Information Systems. I subsequently received a master’s degree in Business Process Innovation from Widener University in August 2015. I am the return on your investment.”

The night also honored three champions in the Philadelphia community including Stephanie Mays Boyd – Vice President, Sales and Marketing for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Dr. Edith Mitchell – Clinical Professor, Director of Diversity of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and the Philadelphia Foundation.

Check out the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball photos here and visit UNCF to learn more.