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Media Contact:  Will Davison Jr.

Annual Gala in its 22nd year is attended by 600 students enrolled at 47-public HBCUs

NEW YORK – October 29, 2009 – Each year, more than 4000 educators, philanthropists, CEO’s, business and government executives, students, celebrities,  tastemakers and media gather to attend the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF)  Anniversary Dinner Weekend  in New York City. This year’s theme, TMCF @ 22: Lighting the Path for Tomorrow’s Leaders, celebrated the achievements of the country’s foremost visionaries, activists and organizations that use their status to affect positive change in their communities.

Anniversary weekend is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser to raise funds to assist in leadership development, programmatic support, scholarships and capacity-building for the 47-public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). 

This year’s Dinner broke an all time fundraising record raising $6.2 million. The Gala’s Co-chairs were John Esposito, President & CEO, Bacardi, USA Inc. and Carl Dalstrom, President & CEO, USA Funds.

The annual event bestows its highest honors to individuals who embody the legacy of Thurgood Marshall through their commitment to the Fund and its mission. The 2009 TMCF honorees that were recognized include:

• Founder’s Award- Brent Clinkscale- Attorney at Law, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PPLC

• Corporate Leadership Award- James Mitchell, Jr., Senior Managing Director-Alternative Investments, General Electric Asset Management, Inc.

• Community Leadership Award- Charles Merinoff, Vice Chairman & CEO, Charmer Sunbelt Group

• Educational Leadership Award- Dr. Mary Evans Sias, President, Kentucky State University

• Breaking Barriers Award- Mary J. Blige, Founder and President, Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, (FFAWN)

The host of the evening was acclaimed Actor Danny Glover. Celebrities served as presenters during the prestigious event included: Jasmine Guy, Tasha Smith, Lynn Whitfield, Brian Courtney Wilson and Monica. Recording Artists Raheem DeVaughn and Fantasia as well as the Kentucky State University Glee Club performed throughout the evening.

During the gala, Danny Glover announced to the audience of donations received from Fortune 500 companies Wal-Mart in the amount of $1 million and Miller Coors in the amount of $1.275 million to invest in the nation’s next leaders that attend the HBCUs that TMCF serves.  

“Our supporters dedicated their resources in spite of lean times to show their commitment to the future of America,” said Dwayne Ashley, President & CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “Their gifts will have an immediate impact in investing in the national need to produce leaders.” 

The Anniversary Gala is a culmination of the weekend festivities. In addition to the Gala, the Anniversary Weekend consisted of three other primary events: The 9th Annual Leadership Institute Recruitment Conference & Career Fair, the 4th Annual FRONT ROW Fashion Show and the Prestige Awards.

• The 9th Annual Leadership Institute Recruitment Conference & Career Fair: is the largest recruitment conference in the nation dedicated to providing leadership development and professional development training to HBCU students. The Leadership Institute brings together students attending the 47-public HBCUs with top executives to prepare students to be more competitive professionals.

• The conference has a recruiting component that provides access for students to potential career opportunities with many of the nation’s leading corporations and government agencies.

• The 4th Annual FRONT ROW Fashion Show: features a runway show with the latest apparel and accessories from several of the industry’s established and emerging designers. FRONT ROW is held annually to honor some of the fashion industry’s leading professionals and style icons that have advanced and influenced multicultural style and achievements in the industry.

• The Prestige Awards: This ceremony recognizes the achievements of individuals who are young, talented and have made notable contributions to their professions, industries and communities. The Prestige Award is one of the highest awards presented annually to honorees that consistently demonstrate leadership and embody the commitment and legacy of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Leadership Institute attendee, Foster Sellers, Master of Public Administration major, Howard University noted that “we recognize that TMCF is cutting-edge in terms of its Leadership Development Model and continues to work with minority institutions of higher education to ensure all students have a chance to equally compete in this global job market.” 

Note: Photos are available from Anniversary weekend. Requests should be directed to the public relations office at: 212-573-8545.

About Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc., named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, was established in 1987 and represents 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 6 Law Schools located in 22 states with a population of well over 250,000 students. Over the last 21 years, TMCF has awarded more than $100 million in leadership development, programmatic and capacity support, and scholarships enabling more than 7,500 students to attend public HBCUs. It is the only national organization of 
its type that provides merit-based scholarships and programmatic support to students attending the nation’s public HBCUs. TMCF also provides internship programs and joins corporate and foundation partners in providing leadership training and support to students preparing for undergraduate and professional schools. TMCF is a 501(c) 3, tax-exempt organization.