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International African American Museum receives $500,000 grant

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The International African American Museum has received a grant of $500,000 from the Ford Foundation that will support the museum’s inaugural year of operation, including exhibition installations and early programming, genealogy workshops and Gullah storytelling programs.  

“This is our momentum year. As we head down the finish line of artifact and exhibition installation, we are also launching several programs and beginning to connect with educators across the country while we design our K-12 curriculum,” said Tonya Matthews, museum president and CEO. “We are only able to do this with the vision and support of organizations like the Ford Foundation. We are incredibly grateful for their continuing support.” 

The museum is set to open later this year at the site of Gadsden’s Wharf in downtown Charleston, where many slaves disembarked from Africa. The museum’s focus will be the cultural, social and economic impact of slavery in the Americas and the diverse journeys and achievements of slaves and their descendants. 

“We are honored to work with the International African American Museum and ensure that the history of enslaved Africans is preserved for years to come,” said Margaret Morton, director of Creativity and Free Expression for the Ford Foundation. “The museum will be a critical resource for researchers and visitors alike, and we look forward to seeing the lasting impact its programming will provide.” 

This is the third grant from Ford to the museum since 2017, which brings the foundation’s total giving to nearly $1 million.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization that provides support for organizations and programs that strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. 

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