Big contributions from Usher, Future, Jeezy, Tyrese and Ludacris gave the United Negro College Fund an additional $125,000 for its annual gala. The UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball Atlanta, hosted by Mayor Kaseem Reid, took place in the Georgia capital Saturday, Dec. 17, and featured a host of celebrities and community leaders alike.
Future’s Free Wishes Foundation announced on its Instagram page that it gave $25,000 during the 33rd annual event. The rest of the big celebrity donations were revealed by singer Tyrese, who kicked off a frenzy of support by giving $25,000 in conjunction with UNICEF.
“My brother Usher didn’t even blink and matched it. $25,000,” Tyrese said. “Then, my guy @jeezy jumped out there $25,000 and everyone else in the room felt like that had to step it up!!!! Then I got a text message from my brother @ludacris who jumped out there and matched us at $25,000. It was just amazing.” Tyrese revealed that more than $1 million were raised at the event.
According to the event website, the ball is the “premier fundraising gala and major social event focusing on raising awareness of the need and benefits of a college education, the students UNCF serves and the contributions of historically Black colleges and universities.”
Just wanna send some love to the Mayor of Atlanta who I don't think will ever ever understand how much he means to me and those who he ALWAYS goes out of his way to support and show love to…. The good word says GIVE and shall be given unto you….. As much as you give and look out and continue to show up for others last night we wanted to show up for you!!! We raised MILLION at the Atlanta Masquerade #MAYORSBALL last night in conjunction with UNICEF I proudly jumped out there and donated 25,000 and my brother Usher didn't even blink and marched it…. 25,000 then my guy @jeezy jumped out there 25,000 and everyone else in the room felt like that had to step it up!!!! Then I got a text message from my brother @ludacris who jumped out there and matched us at 25,000 it was just amazing and MILLIONS OF DOLLARS was raised and we're going to put our angles through college……… I did it for the kids, @kasimreed keep doing WHAT you do good brother when I say I got your back it's not just words!!!!!! We're supposed to be inspired by our friends and you inspire me…… You represent what's possible if you work hard and weather storms….. To everyone in the room you guys are ANGELS for being willing to reach in your pockets and give your hard earned money to those who needed it the most!!!!!! "The mind is a terrible thing to waste"…… @unicef @unicefusa some folks just do it for the Gram…. We all stepped UP and did it for real.!!!! To God be all the glory……
On Instagram, UNCF thanked the four celebrity donors who attended.
Aside from the big givers, several other celebrities also attended. Photos on social media show 2Chainz, Jermaine Dupri, Gabrielle Union and Michael Ealy were also present.
The gala is more necessary than ever as HBCUs across the nation struggle to combat decreased funding. Atlanta Black Star reported the institutions’ financial woes have led them to recruit non-Black students, which has helped with diminishing budgets.
“It’s a revenue generator for us and a way of marketing the university,” Delaware State University President Harry Williams said about recruiting from around the globe. “We’re definitely committed to our heritage and our history. But we had to make sure that we were relevant and have programs that would attract students.”