TMCF Raises Over $5 Million During Annual “Leaders and Legends” Award Gala


WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Board Chair Charlie Merinoff announced today that over $5 million was raised on Saturday, September 23 at the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. as part of TMCF’s Leadership Institute and 36th Anniversary “Leaders & Legends” Awards and Fundraising Gala.

This tremendous philanthropic effort and engagement allows TMCF to devote resources toward scholarships and leadership development programs that position students from publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to compete for lucrative careers.

“The investment in our organization is transformational and it has generational impact as we support numerous students who are trailblazers for themselves and their families,” Merinoff said. “As we carry forward the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall, the money raised during our gala ensures that TMCF continues its work as the premier higher education organization committed to supporting the students attending our nation’s publicly supported HBCUs.”


The gala honored individuals making significant contributions to society. As a champion for inclusivity and representation, actress and comedian, Kym Whitley, hosted the gala. 

TMCF honored NBA Hall of Famer and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal with the esteemed Breaking Barriers Award. Thasunda Brown Duckett, Chief Executive Officer of TIAA and only Black Female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, as CEO of the Year. Additionally, TMCF recognized the outstanding achievements of Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr., President of Alabama State University, with the Educator of the Year honor. 

R&B icon Chante’ Moore along with gospel artist Anthony Brown & Group Therapy provided the entertainment. Actor Laz Alonso along with journalist and content creator Gia Peppers introduced award winners. Peppers enthusiastically interviewed many of the gala’s honorees on the red carpet prior to the start of the event.

The TMCF Anniversary Awards Gala hosted over 1,200 attendees, including more than 445 HBCU students and 1,000 guests. All proceeds from the black-tie event support scholarships and programs for nearly 300,000 students at TMCF member-schools.

“For over three decades, we have provided direct resources to sustain HBCUs, nurture and advance Black talent in the workforce, and create a more equitable society that will provide economic mobility for Black students and their communities,” Williams said. “We are thrilled to honor those who align with our mission to carry on Justice Marshall’s fight against the inequities and social injustices hindering the development and acceleration of Black talent.”

Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.
TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit:

CONTACT: Rob Knox Thurgood Marshall College Fund 6108001044 [email protected] 

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