Pratt & Whitney's Columbus, Georgia, site received a 2017 MASKED (Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Education Dreams) Award recently from the United Negro College Fund at the organization's 12th annual Mayor's Masked Ball.

The award recognizes the company's continued support for the United Negro College Fund's efforts. The United Negro College Fund bestows the MASKED Award upon individuals and corporations who have made outstanding contributions through leadership and their support of the United Negro College Fund mission, and have served as a beacon of hope, help and opportunity for the greater community.

Columbus Forge General Manager Keith Bagley accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Pratt & Whitney's Columbus operations have been supporting the event for more than five years after Columbus Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson reached out to the company.

The United Negro College Fund is also supported through fundraising efforts by employees involved in the Columbus facility's African American Forum employee resource group, according to Elvin Dumas, operations manager, Columbus Engine Center. Forum participants were among those attending the event.

"On behalf of the employees of Pratt & Whitney's Columbus operations, it is my great honor to accept this prestigious award from the United Negro College Fund," Bagley said. "We made a commitment to support the United Negro College Fund through the mayor's annual event because we recognize the tremendous work the organization does to advance the opportunities of minority students to attend college. Our employees have a long history of positively impacting the community where we live and work through both company sponsorships and employee-led volunteer initiatives. I think I can speak for all our employees in saying that giving back is part of our culture.

"The recent news of our facility expansion here underscores our goal of attracting, training and retaining the next generation of aerospace workers in Georgia," Bagley added. "I can't think of a better way of helping make that happen than through our commitment to the good work of the United Negro College Fund. You can be sure it will be shared with our employees, all of whom are so dedicated to our community efforts."

The United Negro College Fund is dedicated to providing educational support for young, gifted and deserving African American students throughout the community and the country. Since its founding in 1944, the United Negro College Fund's financial support has enabled more than 430,000 students to obtain college degrees.