Countdown is on for biggest fundraiser benefiting African-American college students

Cherri Gregg
March 17, 2019 - 4:00 am

Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The United Negro College Fund of Philadelphia is gearing up for its biggest fundraiser of the year. The Mayor's Masked Ball will help raise money needed to send hundreds of area students to colleges across the county.  

The annual ball has raised over $2 million over the past seven years, and this year the goal is set high.

"Our goal is to raise over $620,000 and we are well on our way to achieving that goal," said UNCF's Greg Lyles.

Lyles, the area director of development, says UNCF awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to students from the region. 

"Even just going to Atlanta was a big step," she said. "That was my first time going on a plane."

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Tashiana Tucker, originally from South Philadelphia, is a first generation college student.  She says her mother took out a $30,000 student loan for her freshman year at Spellman College, in Atlanta, but now she is there tuition free.

"I worked really hard my first year, I got a lot of institutional scholarships and with the help of UNCF --being there is really a blessing," she said. "My first year at Morehouse was $47,952"

Ian Barrett is a junior sociology Major at Morehouse College.  

"To have someone support my dreams is absolutely amazing," the West Philadelphia native says, "it really changes your perspective on things."

The Mayor's Masked Ball is next Saturday at the Pennsylvania convention Center. Details on tickets, or to apply for scholarships are available at the UNCF website.