The Newark UNCF honored three local leaders at its annual Mayor's Masked Ball.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, former Newark Councilman Calvin West and Newark developer Miles Berger were honored at the June 22 fundraising event held at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark.

Local celebrities, dignitaries, elected officials, and UNCF volunteers attended the event, which raises money for scholarships for students who attend UNCF-member institutions.

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"We are honoring Miles for his investment in better futures for our young people in the Newark community. His business endeavors and deep appreciation for Newark have led to the City's continuing renaissance," said Ngozi Emenyeonu, area director of UNCF Newark. "Through his businesses, he has provided employment opportunities for many Newark residents; and through his civic and philanthropic engagement, he has supported numerous causes including education and UNCF."

The Berger Organization is one of North Jersey’s largest landlords, with over a million square feet in assets spanning the residential, hospitality and commercial sectors, and a staff of over 200 employees in North Jersey. 

Berger’s holdings include properties in Jersey City and East Orange, but are primarily concentrated in Downtown Newark - including the offices of UNCF’s Newark office on Alling Street.

“We’ve said it before tonight - that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a great thing to invest in. Well, we agree - that’s why we made UNCF an offer they couldn’t refuse!” Berger said to laughter and applause after receiving the award.

Berger has been one of the strongest figures in the revitalization of Newark, redeveloping several distressed properties Downtown, including the Robert Treat Hotel and the Griffith Building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Live entertainment was provided by Gordon Chambers, a Grammy-winning songwriter and producer who has worked with top-selling artists like Aretha Franklin and Newark native Whitney Houston.

UNCF (formerly United Negro College Fund) is the nation's largest private scholarship provider to minority group members. Each year, it awards more than $100 million in scholarships to more than 10,000 students at more than 1,100 schools across the country. Visit uncf.org for more information.