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Maya Angelou to raise scholarship funds, honor four women


UNCF fundraiser highlights include infamous hat competition, high-end silent auction and lifetime achievement award to Thereasea Elder


(CHARLOTTE, NC)  During a time when historically black colleges are feeling the economy’s strain, renowned poet Dr. Maya Angelou will help raise scholarship money for deserving students during the Seventh Annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon.  The event, which is a fundraiser to benefit the UNCF - United Negro College Fund, will be held at noon on Saturday, June 20 at The Westin Charlotte (601 S. College St.).


“UNCF has an enormous responsibility to assist and support historically black colleges, especially during this difficult time in our nation’s history.  We’re so grateful for Dr. Angelou’s willingness to ensure students receive an education through her continued support of UNCF and this fantastic event,” says Marilyn Richards, N.C. UNCF director.


During the luncheon, Dr. Angelou also will honor four local women, who have made significant achievements in their professions and the community.


The 2009 Maya Angelou Women Who Lead honorees are Dr. Lillie Hibbler-Britt, associate vice president of investments, Wells Fargo Advisors / Wachovia Securities; Jennifer Roberts, chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners; and Michelle Thomas, community affairs and citizenship manager of Microsoft Corporation. Thereasea Clark Elder, whose career and advocacy in healthcare spanned more than 40 years, will receive the Maya Angelou/Elizabeth Ross Dargan Lifetime Achievement Award. 


“Our congratulations go out to each of these women who represent themselves and their respective organizations and causes with passion, leadership and commitment to move our community forward,” says Mary Gill and Denise Mitchell, co-chairs of the event.


Another highlight of the event is the popular “HAT-i-tude” contest.  Many women—adorned in their favorite hats—compete to win prizes for the best and most unusual headpieces.  Last year, more than half of the event’s attendees wore hats, adding whimsy to the event décor.  Patrons also will enjoy a silent auction with items from various high-end retailers.


During the event, UNCF will present a $5,000 scholarship to Megan Lawrence, who is a graduating senior from West Charlotte High School and will be attending Bennett College in the fall.  Additional proceeds will benefit UNCF member institutions including the five located in NC:  Bennett College, Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College, Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College. 


Tickets are $150 per person and may be purchased through the local UNCF office by calling 704-377-8625.  AT&T remains the presenting sponsor of the event. Other major sponsors are Wachovia/Wells Fargo, Duke Energy, GlaxoSmithKline, FDY Food Services and Food Lion.


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, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education.  UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 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 900 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


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