Starfish Ball 2022 Breaks Records

Gray candelabra on top of table

The nsoro Educational Foundation Raises $2.2 Million at 2022 Starfish Ball
Honoring Kwanza Jones and Vince Burkett

Proceeds support post-secondary attainment of youth aging out of the foster care system

(Atlanta, GA) A who’s who of dignitaries, corporate titans, esteemed philanthropists, and supporters filled a sold-out ballroom on May 21,2022 raising a record-breaking $2.2 million for aspiring collegians aging out of the foster care system nationwide. nsoro was honored to have Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens welcome Ball patrons and nsoro Scholars.

Long-time advocate and major donor Vince Burkett was honored as the King of Starfish Ball, with artist and philanthropist, Kwanza Jones honored as Queen. Impressed by the words and inspiring accomplishments of scholar graduates, Ms. Jones challenged ball attendees to give more through her $250,000 matching donation during the “Fund-A-Need” portion of the evening, providing direct support to scholars.

Thirty-two nsoro scholars who are recent college graduates from 11 states were honored as distinguished guests. Their presence provided up-close insights on the value of nsoro’s gap funding scholarships, essential coaching, mentoring, and wrap-around supports provided throughout their post-secondary journey. Keynote graduate, Raekwon Williams provided a heart-wrenching depiction of how a young man from the westside of Atlanta traversed the barriers of a life of hardship and setbacks to becoming a graduate of Morehouse College thanks in part to his scholarship and mentorship from The nsoro Educational Foundation.

In honor of the organization’s 17th anniversary, corporate sponsors for the celebration included Mercedes-Benz USA, Microsoft, Greenberg Traurig, Georgia Power, Goldman Sachs, MercedesBenz of Buckhead, Wilson Lewis, Wilmington Trust, and Cresset Capital.

“At nsoro, success goes beyond a college degree, we are solving for equitable outcomes among a well-deserving population of collegians, nationwide. With more than 20,000 youth aging out of foster care every year, our work serves as an essential component of the foster care ecosystem. Thanks to the many benefactors, corporate partners and volunteers who generously supported our efforts, our scholarship program is strengthened.” said nsoro Executive Director Monica Pantoja.

Guests enjoyed dinner and dancing, silent and live auction, and live band at the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead in a New Orleans-themed extravaganza. The festive tradition of the Starfish Mardi Gras theme serves as a loving salute to the New Orleans heritage of nsoro’s Chairman and Founder, Darrell Mays.

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