The nsoro Educational Foundation marked 15 years of supporting youth aging out of the foster care system during its 2020 Starfish Ball, an event that raised $1.3 million to help those youths realize their dreams of going to college.
The ballroom at the St. Regis Atlanta was decorated with a New Orleans-inspired theme as a salute to Darrell Mays, nsoro’s chair and founder who hails from that city. He was joined at the sold-out event by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was also marking her 50th birthday. Ball Chair Stephanie Travis Patterson welcomed nsoro’s most distinguished guests: the 29 college graduates from 10 states who have been supported by the organization’s efforts. Keynote graduate Justin Black shared his story of growing up in foster care homes in Detroit and graduating from Western Michigan University with nsoro’s help. The event also honored Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis and U.S. Senator and co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream Kelly Loeffler. Founded in 2005, the nonprofit nsoro currently supports 268 scholars in 31 states who attend 191 post-secondary institutions; 346 have earned degrees. “Within the population we serve, a college degree changes more than the trajectory of one life; it directly impacts the legacy of a generation,” says Executive Director Monica Pantoja. “We are profoundly grateful for the many benefactors, corporate partners and volunteers who make that change possible.”
BY: Karon Warren
Photos: Cat Harper Photography
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