The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Birmingham awarded its first Lifetime Achievement Award to retired Alabama Power President and CEO Charles McCrary at its annual Masked Ball. The event was held at the Sheraton Hotel Ballroom Saturday, March 8.
The prestigious honor recognizes a leader who has blazed trails in areas of educational advancement, minority advocacy and community development. “The best way to ensure success for tomorrow is to invest in our children today,” McCrary said.
Walvid King Sr., UNCF area development director, said the award honors McCrary’s visionary leadership at Alabama Power. “His record and advocacy concerning African-Americans in this community show he was a true trailblazer and change agent where and when needed.”
The UNCF Birmingham Masked Ball is one of the Magic City’s premier social occasions and leading black-tie fundraisers of the year. Additional event features included a masked auction and presentation, reception and elegant dining. Birmingham Water Works Board Vice President Sherry Lewis served as chairwoman and Mayor William A. Bell Sr. was the honorary chairman.
UNCF leadership set a 2014 event fundraising goal of $500,000. King announced at the event that $470,000 of that goal had been reached. There was also a call that night for audience members to donate to UNCF. “These proceeds will allow UNCF to extend thousands of dollars in support of students from Alabama, helping them to pursue a college education,” King said.
The R&B group The O’Jays – consisting of Eddie Levert Sr., Walter Williams Sr. and Eric Nolan Grant – performed some of their hit records after the program ended. The singers performed songs such as “Stairway to Heaven,” “Family Reunion,” “Love Train” and “For the Love of Money.” Levert, one of the original founding members, reminded the audience that he has an Alabama connection. He was born in Bessemer, a community about 20 miles from Birmingham.
As the nation’s oldest and most successful minority education assistance organization, UNCF’s mission is to increase minority degree attainment by providing financial support to 37 member institutions. Find out more at www.uncf.org.