Usher, Future Among Big Donors to UNCF’s Annual Fundraiser for HBCUs

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.”

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.”

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