Through events like this, UNCF—now in its 80th year—is changing the HBCU narrative across the nation by helping more students get to and through college

CHICAGO, IL, May 24, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — As a major event during the year-long 80th anniversary celebration of UNCF (United Negro College Fund), UNCF Chicago will recognize seven extraordinary individuals and one corporate supporter at its “A Mind Is…” (AMI) Gala, at 7 p.m., on June 15, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Visit

Rev. Otis and First Lady Monica Moss of Trinity United Church of Christ will receive the AMI Alumni Award. Ill. Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Sen. Mattie Hunter (3rd District); Ill. Deputy Majority Leader, Rep. Lisa Hernandez (3rd District); Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer (2nd District); and Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore (4th District); will receive the AMI Advocate Award. Corliss V. Garner, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Old National Bank, will receive the AMI Community Award. Target will receive the AMI Corporate Award.

“Our honorees are incredibly committed to the mission of UNCF. Now, in our 80th year, we’re proud to honor individuals and organizations who help make a difference in the lives of deserving students,” said Lisa M. Rollins, Regional Development Director, UNCF.

“As leaders of Trinity United Church of Christ, Rev. Otis and First Lady Monica Moss not only support UNCF, they also lead an 8,500 member church in giving to education. Sen. Mattie Hunter, Rep. Lisa Hernandez, Commissioner Dennis Deer, and Commissioner Stanley Moore, serve in various areas of government working on behalf of our communities, including our students. They are committed to providing opportunities for deserving students to pursue a college education.

“Corliss Garner, our Community Award honoree, continues to hold up the DEI banner, which is critical to UNCF as we seek to increase corporate funding in support of our mission. Target remains an outstanding corporate citizen. The company began supporting UNCF more than a decade ago right here in Chicago and is now a UNCF national sponsor. We are so grateful for this level of corporate support,” Rollins said.

This year the AMI fundraising goal is $1 million!

Gala Chair Steven Hunter said, “I am so proud to take on this leadership position for the 80th anniversary of UNCF Chicago and the many students, across ethnicities who benefit from its work. We set a high goal at $1 million, and I intend to ensure that we reach it.” Hunter is the Chicago Office Chair of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group at Quarles & Brady LLP. Quarles is the Presenting Sponsor of the AMI Gala.

The evening promises to be a night filled with purpose and a resounding call for the Chicago community to join UNCF in supporting education. It will also be a festive affair with music, dancing, and exquisite food fare. Entertainment will be provided by R&B/neo soul singer-songwriter, actor, and four-time Grammy Award nominee Eric Benét.

From 2022 – 2023, UNCF awarded 541 scholarships to students in Illinois.

UNCF’s iconic motto now revised still rings true…a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in™. For more information and sponsorship opportunities, contact UNCF at 312-845-2200.

About UNCF
UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 17 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” ® Learn more at or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @UNCF.

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