WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Thurgood Marshall College Fund held another sold-out Awards Gala to support the work of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The organization's 28 th Annual Awards Gala, held Monday night, is one of DCs largest non-political fundraisers. The organization hosted over 1,500 participants devoted to empowering and supporting students attending HBCUs. This year, over 400 HBCU studentscholars were in attendance.
Distinguished honorees included Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter and Square, recipient of the CEO of the Year Award; Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, recipient of the International Humanitarian of the Year Award; Katherine "Shelley" Broderick, Dean, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, recipient of the Education Leadership Award; and Benjamin F. Wilson, Managing Principal, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. received the Thurgood Marshall Legacy Award. "TMCF does not give awards for the sake of giving awards. We are deliberate in acknowledging the amazingly talented individuals we honor every year. Last night was no exception," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "The collective contributions of leadership, perseverance, innovation, and entrepreneurship deserve recognition because it's people like our honorees that inspire us all," said Taylor. Emmy Award-nominated daytime talk show host, Wendy Williams, served as the host for the evening and two-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist, Peabo Bryson, delivered the entertainment singing two classic Disney hits, "Beauty and the Beast" and "A Whole New World." In a special moment, singer V. Bozeman, on Fox's Empire, personally awarded two $5,000 book scholarships in the name of her grandmother. On stage presenters included: Traci Braxton, Singer & Star of WE tv's Braxton Family Values, Tobias Truvillion, Actor on Fox's Hit Series Empire, Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, Senator Roy Blunt and Representative Bobby Scott. "When I look at the money raised at the gala, and the type of people that joined us in the room for the purpose of supporting HBCU students, faculty, and staff, it makes me immensely humbled to serve as the Board Chairman of this one-of-a-kind non-profit," said Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup and TMCF Board Chair. "TMCF is an example to DC and our entire nation how one organization can make an impact and a real difference in the lives of young men and women." The evening concluded with an announcement of a $1,000,000 new partnership from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). "Having incredible corporate friends investing in TMCF and HBCUs like our Presenting Partner, Koch Industries, speaks volumes. USDA NRCS, and all of our Gala partners remind each of us all that the HBCU community has support--real support. Monday night's event shows that higher education is always a smart investment, and HBCUs do in fact matter," Taylor commented. "TMCF is truly the place WHERE EDUCATION PAYS OFF® and I am excited to see what the future holds for TMCF and our member-schools next year for our 30 th Anniversary Celebration Gala," Taylor continued. About Thurgood Marshall College Fund The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), established in 1987, is named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice. TMCF represents all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and its member-schools include the 47 publicly-supported HBCUs. With TMCF member-schools educating 80% of all students attending HBCUs, TMCF helps students with a clear intention to succeed acquire a high-quality college education at an affordable cost. TMCF also efficiently connects high performing, world-ready students with top tier employment opportunities—access that students or employers might not have on their own. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.