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** UPDATE – UNCF announces the postponement of their Mayor’s Masked Ball. Read the full statement below:

After consultation with key supporters, donors and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) has decided out of an abundance of caution to move the date of the upcoming New Orleans UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball that was scheduled for Saturday, March 14. Public health concerns must take precedent right now. The new date for the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball will be forthcoming.

UNCF conducts major fundraising balls and galas nationally and throughout the year as a means to provide critical support to deserving college students and to UNCF’s 37 member private historically black college and universities (HBCUs).

The New Orleans UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball is a private event funded by UNCF donors and sponsors, and is hosted by Mayor Cantrell, with whom we have a great relationship and sincerely appreciate her ardent support. However, UNCF understands the concerns around the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and respectfully wishes to keep everyone safe until this public health crisis can be resolved.

For 76 years, UNCF has helped more than half a million students attend college, but every day we must turn away nine out of 10 students due to lack of funding. Our HBCUs, like Xavier and Dillard universities, both located in New Orleans, and the students they serve depend on UNCF’s support through events such as the Mayor’s Masked Ball.

We thank the greater New Orleans community for the continued support of the work and mission of UNCF.

Original Article Below:

NEW ORLEANS – While Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other city leaders have taken the extraordinary step of cancelling all public events to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in New Orleans, private events like the Mayor’s Masked Ball have not been cancelled.

The annual ball is a private fundraiser for the United Negro College Fund. The City of New Orleans is not presenting the event, Cantrell clarified in a post on her official Facebook page.

The proceeds from the event will not go to Cantrell.

“The Mayor’s Masked Ball is one of UNCF’s fundraising efforts held in major cities across the country,” according to the statement. “Cities with upcoming Mayor’s Masked Balls include Birmingham, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Columbus, New Orleans and more. Mayors around the country have been hosting this worthy cause for over 35 years.”

Cantrell posted the clarification on Facebook after a wave of criticism on social media and allegations that the event was put on by the city to benefit the mayor.