Members of Women in Focus, Inc. at last year's "I Have a Dream" ball.

Women In Focus Inc., a local non-profit dedicated to supporting the education of students of color in the Madison community, will be hosting their annual “I Have A Dream” Ball” on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

“This will be Women in Focus’s 33rd annual ‘I Have a Dream’ Scholarship Ball, again this year to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,” Women in Focus, Inc. Ball Chairperson Verona Morgan tells Madison365. “This is our signature fundraiser each year and all of the proceeds go towards scholarships which has enabled us and will enable us to continue to give scholarships to students.”

Morgan is one of the co-founders of Women in Focus Inc. and has been a member for 36 years. This will be her seventh time serving as the “I Have A Dream” Ball chairperson which was first held in 1986. “There were nine of us way back then. We started as a group called ‘The Connectors’ before changing our name to ‘Women in Focus,’” Morgan remembers. “One of our early goals was to mentor young women with potential. Another one of our goals was to educate students of color.”

An early photo of Women in Focus Inc. from the ’80s

Since its formation in 1983, Women in Focus has awarded over $500,000 worth of scholarships for students of color in the Madison area who are pursuing college and continuing education degrees. Some scholarships also are granted to adult students returning to college after a hiatus for various reasons.

“We are currently looking for applications from kids from diverse communities to apply for our scholarships,” Morgan says. The deadline for 2019 Women in Focus Scholarship application is Feb. 15.

2018 Women in Focus Scholarship winners

Women In Focus, Inc.’s vision is a world in which dreams are fulfilled through a worldwide partnership where all barriers to education are erased for students of color. Morgan says that she hopes that the community shares this vision.

“Through our ball, our entire community participates in our vision and helps us to secure the funds needed for the Women in Focus college scholarships that we will be presenting in the spring of 2019,” she says. “As an organization, we are committed to making a difference educationally for our children and the community’s focus on funding for education gives us hope for a bright future for the students and for our community.”

At the 33rd annual ‘I Have a Dream’ Scholarship Ball, Kinfolk will be providing the music that will keep people dancing all night along with DJ Ace. The speaker at this year’s annual event will be Gia Euler-Plath, a former WIF scholarship winner.

Gia P. Euler-Plath

“That is probably my favorite part of the event – the students that we bring back to be our keynote speakers. They are former recipients of the award,” Morgan says. “Every year, we bring back a student who has made specific inroads into areas that they have chosen to have as a career so they can talk about the odds that they have been able to overcome.”

This is the signature scholarship fundraiser for the organization that always takes place the Saturday before the Monday holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and is the sole fundraising event for the organization. All proceeds raised on Jan. 19 will go toward scholarships awarded to deserving students of color.

“It’s a fun, exciting event and a chance to get all dressed up and dance to a live band. It’s an uplifting event for a great cause,” Morgan says. “We’re hoping that everybody will come out and help us raise the funds necessary to have scholarships to award in the spring.”

The Women in Focus, Inc.’s 33rd annual MLK “I Have A Dream” Ball will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Tickets are still available. The deadline to purchase tickets is Jan. 13. For more information, click here.