Augusta UNCF Campaign to Host Scholarship Jazz Festival

Posted by lsuggs | 07/24/2013 07:47 AM

(Augusta, GA) – The Augusta United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Campaign is thrilled to announce its Inaugural Ann N. Johnson UNCF Jazz Festival, scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 8, 2013, at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater. This historic outdoor venue is located at 1 Ninth Street in downtown Augusta, Georgia. The location of this momentous event is named in tribute of the international opera star and Augusta native, Jessye Norman.

The UNCF Jazz Festival’s chair, Ann N. Johnson, has been a community pillar within the greater Augusta area for over 40 years. Paine College, the presenting host of the festival, has always been in the heart of  
Mrs. Johnson, who has been a loyal supporter of the College a number of years.

“For 130 years, Paine has produced stellar leaders in various leadership positions and careers,” shared Mrs. Johnson. “Having served more than 35 years in higher education at Paine College, I have learned first-hand the talents and intellectual abilities of many deserving students, and the impact of receiving UNCF scholarships had on their lives”.

Paine College has been a member UNCF school for over 40 years. The UNCF is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has raised more than $3.6 billion to help more than 400,000 students receive college degrees at UNCF-member institutions and with UNCF scholarships.

Tickets, now available for purchase, are $25 in advance and $35 on the day of the scholarship event. To purchase tickets for this event, contact Leadra Collins, Augusta UNCF Campaign Coordinator, at 706.821.8233 or

About Ann N. Johnson
Ann Nealous Johnson grew up in Martinez, Georgia, having attended Columbia County elementary public schools and graduated from Lucy Craft Laney High School.  She is a graduate of Walker Business College and Paine College, and further studied at Augusta State University.  Her early career began as Secretary for Lucy Craft Laney High School and Director of its evening school.  Later she moved to Paine College where she served in several capacities, to include Assistant to the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs, Director of Personnel, and Executive Assistant to two presidents, Dr. Julius S. Scott, Jr. and Dr. Shirley A. R. Lewis.  

While employed as Executive Assistant to the President of Paine College, Mrs. Johnson served as director of special events and chaired the Lyceum Series, where she was instrumental in bringing international opera star, Jessye Norman to the community for her Augusta inaugural concert. 
Mrs. Johnson was the lead organizer of the Paine College UNCF Jazz Festival held annually at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater over Labor Day weekend for many years, supporting scholarships for the UNCF by soliciting jazz musicians from the Augusta area to provide entertainment.  She further supported the National UNCF Scholarship Fund, Lou Rawls Parade of Stars, with annual “Ann N. Johnson & Company” fashion shows, having raised thousands of dollars over a period of 12 years. 

When Mrs. Johnson retired as the Executive Assistant to the President of Paine College in 1998, after 35 years of service, she was given a resounding send-off through the efforts of her long-time friend, international opera star and Paine College Distinguished Trustee, Jessye Norman.   To show her gratitude for Ann’s service to Paine College, she committed to perform a benefit concert in Ann’s honor, establishing the Ann N. Johnson Endowed Scholarship Fund at Paine College, now the Ann N.  & Ellis M. Johnson Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Being very community oriented, Mrs. Johnson has served on many boards, to include Sacred Heart Cultural Center, Brandon Wilde, Morris Museum of Art, and Sand Hills Neighborhood Association. While a board member of the Sand Hills Neighborhood Association, Mrs. Johnson worked untiringly to initiate the building of the Sand Hills Community Center.

Mrs. Johnson was a docent at the Morris Museum of Art and chaired the Friends of African American Art. She is a member of the Friends of Jessye Norman School of the Arts (FJNSA), and recently presented a Vintage Hat and Accessories Event to raise funds to purchase a grand piano for the FJNSA. Currently, she serves as Project Coordinator for “Purses for a Purpose,” a fundraiser to benefit the FJNSA.
Mrs. Johnson vigorously supports the Augusta Chorale and Augusta Mini Theater where she has served as a volunteer fund-raiser.  She supports the Heritage Academy and her first love, Paine College, where she serves upon  the request of various entities.  Mrs. Johnson’s involvement has touched many religious, social and community organizations through her fashion events, Ann N. Johnson & Company.

During Mrs. Johnson’s tenure as President of the Augusta Chapter of Links, Incorporated, the Links were recognized locally and nationally for purchasing, renovating, furnishing and donating a home to a homeless veteran through the Wounded Warrior Project.  

At Elim Baptist Church, Mrs. Johnson has served in many capacities. Currently she is a member of the Mission and Hospitality Ministries and the Golden Agers. She is a caring mentor to children, doling out hugs, advice and a gracious “correction” when necessary. 

Dr. George C. Bradley, President of Paine College, appointed Mrs. Johnson to his Transition Team and to chair the President’s Scholarship Gala during his inauguration, and subsequently in 2009, he presented her with the Inaugural Paine College Commitment to Excellence Award.

Touched by the loss of lives and property in Haiti during the 2010 earthquake, Mrs. Johnson volunteered to serve on the Steering Committee for the Augusta Area Churches, Colleges and Civic Organizations to raise funds for the schools and orphanages in Haiti.  In 2011 & 2012, the local contributions exceeded $100,000.

Mrs. Johnson has been the recipient of numerous awards, to include, Girl Scouts Woman of Excellence and National Association of University Women “2013 Woman of the Year.”

In the fall of 2012, Mrs. Johnson successfully organized “Sew Cool Sisters,” a project designed to mentor ‘tweens and teen girls, and teach them the basics of sewing.

Mrs. Johnson strives to do her best to impact and encourage others as she works through community and national organizations to impact issues of broader significance to humankind.

Mrs. Johnson is grateful to be supported by her loving and wonderful family, and her greatest supporter, her husband, Ellis M. Johnson.

For more information on Paine College, please visit or contact Leah Suggs in the Office of Communications & Marketing at
(706) 821-8322, (803) 524-3195 or


Photo caption: Flyer for the Inaugural Ann N. Johnson UNCF Jazz Festival.