Hallema Sharif 
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Phone: 212-573-8494

NEW YORK (OCTOBER 25, 2011) – The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) celebrated its 24th anniversary with a star-studded gala on Monday, October 24, at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. With over 1500 guests from the worlds of entertainment, business and global leadership in attendance, this prestigious annual gala – which was streamed live for the first time in its history – raised $1.6 million for its Leadership Institute and $1.5 million for the Dinner, bringing the total to $3.1 million. The donations will aid the nearly 300,000 students attending TMCF’s 47 public HBCUs in their goal of achieving a higher education.  

During the event, TMCF took an opportunity to mark a significant upcoming milestone, ramping up for the organization’s silver anniversary in 2012. The occasion was commemorated with three donors committing $2.5 million in gifts to TMCF: Altria, Walmart, Inc. and MillerCoors.

Hosted by multi award-winning gospel icon Pastor Shirley Caesar, the gala boasted an array of celebrities to honor the organization’s legacy, such as Blair Underwood, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lynn Whitfield, Carl Lewis, Rockmond Dunbar, Lamman Rucker, Melyssa Ford, among others.

The gala was highlighted with several award presentations for a distinguished roster of honorees. These men and women were recognized for their notable service, philanthropy and enduring impact on the lives of future young trailblazers.  The following is the list of 2011 honorees:
  • International Humanitarian of the Year Award: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
  • Breaking Barriers Award: Russell Simmons, chairman, Rush Communications
  • Founders Award: John Esposito, former president and CEO, Bacardi USA, Inc.
  • Community Leadership Award: Rollin L. Ford, executive vice president and chief information officer, Walmart Store, Inc.
  • Corporate Leadership Award: Jesse L. Calloway, VP and general manager, Tobacco Processing & Manufacturing, Philip Morris, USA
Educational Leadership Award: Dr. Thelma B. Thompson, former president, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

This years sponsors include: Chairman Sponsor - The Charmer Sunbelt Group; President Sponsor: Gallup and Miller Coors; Partner Sponsors: Altria, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Costco, ING, Lowes, NBA Cares, Walmart, Wells Fargo and the U. S. Army Cadet Command.

Guests were also treated to rousing performances by singer/songwriter and Grey Goose Rising Icon Marsha Ambrosius (who performed tracks from her debut top-charting album, Late Nights and Early Mornings), UN Ambassador Maya Azucena, and Everybody Hates Chris star, actress and singer Tichina Arnold.

“Our 24th Anniversary Dinner was a tremendous success, as TMCF generated an impressive amount in support of our vital purpose,” says Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of TMCF. “We’re thrilled with the outpouring of donations from individuals and sponsors alike, whose support fuels our ongoing mission to ensure underrepresented scholars have access to a quality education and opportunities. As we prepare for our silver anniversary, armed with renewed purpose and determination, TMCF remains committed to elevating our talented HBCU achievers to serve as the nation’s future leaders of industry, government and education.”

For more information about the Anniversary Dinner, visit:


The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American justice, was established in 1987. TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending our 47 member schools, which include public Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). TMCF's work is critical to guaranteeing our country a robust and diverse pipeline of talented workers and future leaders. 

TMCF achieves its vision of Changing the World … One Leader at a Time by focusing on: scholarships; capacity building and programmatic support; and public policy and advocacy. TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization and has a "Four Star" rating by Charity Navigator.  For up-to-the-minute information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit: