Big money is being put towards centers that are meant to benefit the Black community. The latest is in Madison, Wisconsin.
Everything about this 65,000-square-foot, three-level building is going to be Black. It’s Black-inspired, Black-designed and Black-led and will be a chance for the Black community in Madison to honor, observe and learn about their community and also socialize, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The space can be used for weddings, performances, conferences, parties and any other gatherings Black people want to have.
In this world where we are being killed and arrested for being brown, Black spaces can be safe havens.
From Wisconsin State Journal:
“The Center isn’t a program,” CEO and founder Rev. Alex Gee, who is also a pastor at Fountain of Life and founder/CEO of the Nehemiah Center, told the enthusiastic crowd gathered at the site. “It is a solution and a Black-designed solution that will use cultural expression, history, innovation and leadership development to inoculate ourselves against the stress and cultural isolation that’s killing us and our aspiration.
“We members of the Black community stand in solidarity to say, ‘We need this now,’” he said. “This is our moment. This is a transformational moment.”
The project has seen a groundswell of support that spans generations, advocates said. Already, more than 300 Black donors and their honorees have led the early fundraising effort, with hundreds more Black donors expected to give next year. Black professionals and cultural influencers are also contributing their expertise at every level of the project, from design to programming to operations, they said.
On Thursday, the center also announced that Summit Credit Union became its first founding donor with a $2 million gift, part of $5 million already raised in a $36 million capital campaign.
The center will be designed by Black architects, artists, business leaders and experts that have met with residents in the community. They were supported by Lord Cultural Resources, the same consulting practice behind the extraordinary Smithsonian Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., according to the story from the Wisconsin State Journal.
If it’s even a fraction to being as dope as the Museum of African American History, then it’s going to be one fly ass center.
From Wisconsin State Journal:
The project includes a $38 million construction budget, timed to break ground at the end of 2022 and open in 2023. Additionally, The Center is raising $4 million for an endowment/operating fund over the next two years. A $36 million capital campaign and $6 million in federal New Market Tax Credits will complete paying for the building’s construction and provide funding for ongoing operating costs.
In addition to Summit Credit Union’s $2 million gift, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, said they had helped secure a $1 million federal earmark for the project. The Center previously received $810,000 from Dane County and $250,000 from the city of Madison.
From our perspective, the only downside about all this is that we have to wait until 2023 to see the finished project.