Healthfirst Sponsors 8th Annual Big Apple Classic Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center

Awards 13 High School Graduates with United Negro College Fund (UNCF) College Scholarships

NEW YORK, NY, December 1, 2014 – Healthfirst sponsors the 8th annual Big Apple Classic (BAC) basketball tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on Sunday, December 7 at 3pm. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) basketball competition will present a doubleheader – Virginia State University vs. Virginia Union University at 3pm and North Carolina Central University vs. Howard University at 6pm.
During halftime, Healthfirst will present 13 deserving New York City metropolitan area public high school 2014 graduates with United Negro College Fund (UNCF) college scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each. The students were selected from a rigorous selection process consisting of a one-page essay, 500 words or less, on the topics: “How has President Obama’s Affordable Care Act impacted my community”, or, “What can I do to improve the health of my community?”, along with additional supporting material. Registration was open from August 11 to September 19, 2014. All winners have been accepted to a four-year degree granting City University of New York (CUNY), State University of New York (SUNY) or UNCF member institution. They are now attending these institutions as college freshman for the 2014-2015 school year.
“Closing the education gap and providing our future leaders with resources for excelling in life is a top priority for Healthfirst,” said George Hulse, Healthfirst Vice President of External Affairs. “We are proud to partner with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the Big Apple Classic to highlight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and to assist deserving students with the opportunity to attend college. This journey also allows us to bring awareness to the impact healthy living has on the students and the communities they live in.”
“Today more than ever it is important that our young people get the education they need, and that we need them to have in order to remain competitive in the 21st century. For the thirteen deserving young men and women this scholarship will enable them to become college graduates and our next generation of leaders,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., president and CEO, UNCF. “We are grateful for the partnership with Healthfirst because it is not only an investment in the futures of these extraordinary young people, but also in the country’s economic strength and competitiveness.”
For more information on the Big Apple Classic, visit For more information on the UNCF, visit For more information on Healthfirst, please visit
About Healthfirst
Healthfirst is a not-for-profit health plan serving more than one million members in downstate New York. Created in 1993 by a consortium of the region’s health systems, Healthfirst’s operating model strives to achieve quality outcomes and member satisfaction through collaboration with its extensive provider network and community organizations.
Healthfirst offers a comprehensive selection of free and low-cost health insurance options for individuals and families at every stage of life, including government-sponsored health plans such as Child Health Plus, Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare Advantage, Managed Long Term Care, as well as commercial plans, such as Healthfirst Leaf Plans. We treat our members with the same care and attention we give our own families.
For more information on Healthfirst, please visit
About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of college readiness and minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Learn more at
About Big Apple Classic
The Big Apple Classic was launched seven years ago as New York’s first ever HBCU basketball competition. Produced by Johnson, Inc., a Richmond, VA-based marketing firm, the Big Apple Classic has one primary goal: to increase the awareness of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Northeast region. In addition to exciting basketball action featuring top CIAA and MEAC teams, BAC attendees enjoy live entertainment, an HBCU college fair, and more. Each year, the BAC partners with a non-profit organization or charitable cause that impacts the African American community, and donates a portion of the ticket proceeds.
Laura Vialva
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