SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Feb. 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — For the first time, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) offices in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco will co-host a statewide virtual UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala, on Thursday, March 4, 2021.  Hosted by actress, and television host, Holly Robinson Peete, the newly virtual fundraising program will be immediately followed by acclaimed recording artists’ performances including Ledisi, Chaka Kahn, Stephanie Mills and a special award presentation by UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax.

Presenting sponsor Kaiser Permanente, regional sponsors Chevron Corporation and MUFG Union Bank lead a host of UNCF corporate partners who have worked in partnership with UNCF to increase educational and career development opportunities for students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) nationwide. “Kaiser Permanente values and understands the importance of investing in education to improve the social and economic conditions of our communities. Support for UNCF and the nation’s HBCUs is essential to building a diverse workforce who have the ability to compete and thrive in today’s economy,” said Michelle Gaskill Hames, Northern California senior vice president of hospital and health plan operations for Kaiser Permanente and UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala Regional Chairperson.

More than 500 civic and business professionals UNCF leadership councils throughout the state are anticipated to participate in the online event. Proceeds benefit students in California and across the United States who lack the financial support to get to and through college. Each year, UNCF hosts signature events to raise critical dollars in support of UNCF’s member network of HBCUs while recognizing notable corporations and individuals who have made significant contributions to their local communities in the areas of education and to UNCF.

UNCF is pleased to recognize the following distinguished honorees representing UNCF offices: Individual of the Year: Kevin McDowell, chief administrative officer, AEG (Los Angeles); and Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., public health officer and director of public health services, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (San Diego). Corporation of the Year: Lam Research (accepting the award is Tim Archer, president and CEO);  Qualcomm (accepting the award is Vicki Mealer-Burke, chief diversity officer and vice president of human resources) and American Honda Foundation, (accepting the award is Nichole Whitley, program officer).

A recent UNCF survey of more than 5,000 students across 17 HBCUs found that many are dealing with difficulties such as sick family members, trouble paying bills and general stress from the ongoing pandemic and recent social unrest. Support is needed now more than ever as students and institutions are faced with challenges including COVID-19 and racial disparities.

To learn more, to donate or to register for the event, please go to UNCF.org/CaliforniaGala. Deadline to register for the event is Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

For more information, contact:

Monica L. Sudduth, Vice President, Western Region, UNCF, monica.sudduth@uncforg (San Francisco)

Sheila Gilmore, UNCF Consultant, gilmoremarketinggroup@gmail.com (Los Angeles)

Leah Goodwin, UNCF Consultant, leah@leahcreations.com (San Diego)



About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF

Monique LeNoir
United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF)