Thursday, November 16, 2017

International African American Museum announces $500,000 pledge from Gilder Foundation

Fundraising goal post remains at $9 million

Posted by Adam Manno on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 2:33 PM

click to enlarge Designs for the International African American Museum at Gadsden's Wharf - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Designs for the International African American Museum at Gadsden's Wharf
The International African American Museum announced a half-a-million dollar donation from the New York-based Gilder Foundation Thursday morning.

The museum's $25 million private fundraising goal is still just $9 million short given that remaining totals are announced before established donor names, according to IAAM spokesperson Alexa Asendorf.

The Gilder Foundation was established in 1965 by Richard Gilder and his wife Lois Chiles, according to Inside Philanthropy. The foundation focuses on education and historic preservation.

In 1998, Richard Gilder helped start the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at his alma mater, Yale University. Gilder is also a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History.

He is the co-founder of private brokerage firm Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co.

“Over the years, I have prioritized the support of historical institutions,” Mr. Gilder in an IAAM press release. “Study of the past is crucial to understanding the present and creating a better future. The IAAM and its Center for Family History will provide critical insight into our country’s history and connect individuals to their pasts in meaningful ways.”

IAAM plans to open in 2020 at Gadsden's Wharf, where enslaved Africans awaiting sale were held for upwards of many months, according to the IAAM website.

The museum announced another $500,000 contribution from Benefitfocus CEO Shawn Jenkins and executive chairman Mason Holland earlier this month.

"Given our backgrounds in the technology space, we see the value and potential of this museum," Jenkins said in a statement acquired by The Post and Courier. "This institution will evolve over time, serving generations to come. It’s exciting to support a cultural landmark that will serve this community and its families far into the future."

The museum's $75 million price has been a point of contention in the state House, where lawmakers pulled from committing public funding for the effort until private fundraising was secured. Eventually, one third of the funding will come from private donations, one third will come from the state, and the other third will come from Charleston County and the City of Charleston.

Other donations, which have also been counted towards the fundraising total, have yet to be announced.

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