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The Duke Endowment Invests in the International African American Museum



Press Release

The International African American Museum announced a $1.25 million grant received from The Duke Endowment, one of the largest private philanthropic trusts in the Southeast. The grant includes $1 million for the Museum’s endowment and $250,000 to be used to meet its greatest needs between now and its opening in March 2022. 

An endowment is typically made up of charitable donations to a nonprofit organization, which uses the resulting investment income to support its mission. Most endowments are designed to keep the principal amount intact while using the investment income to support the organization’s work. The current principal of the International African American Museum Endowment is approximately $8 million, including the grant from The Duke Endowment. The Museum’s endowment is managed by the Coastal Community Foundation.

“Creating a sustainable institution is essential and building our endowment is part of our plan to do so,” said Dr. Elijah Heyward III, the Museum’s Chief Operating Officer. “Over its 96-year history, The Duke Endowment has shown its wisdom in selecting investments. We are so proud to be in its distinguished portfolio.”

Construction of the Museum is underway, and the exhibitions and programming are in the final stages of development. “The Duke Endowment understands the importance of unrestricted donations,” said Joe Riley, former mayor of Charleston, and lifetime member of the Board of the Museum. “The $250,000 grant gives us the flexibility to use the funds to continue to build our leadership team, hire experts to help develop programming, create a comprehensive marketing program and more.”

Rhett Mabry, president of The Duke Endowment, visited the site of the Museum earlier this year. “From its historic position on Gadsden’s Wharf, the International African American Museum seeks to share the diverse stories of the African American journey, promote understanding, and provide an educational experience for visitors from the Carolinas and beyond,” Mabry said. “The Duke Endowment is honored to support that vision and contribute to this important endeavor.”
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