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Nov 10, 2020

The Duke Endowment Invests in the International African American Museum

The Duke Endowment Invests in the International African American Museum

$1.25 Million Grant Awarded

CHARLESTON, SC—November 10, 2020—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, S.C., 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.”

About the International African American Museum
The International African American Museum strives to foster empathy and understanding, empowering visitors with the knowledge of the past. The journey will challenge, illuminate, inspire and ultimately, will move people to action. The Museum’s exhibitions will share untold stories using classic techniques as well as new approaches driven by innovation, technology and digital interactivity. Themes will include connections across the African diaspora, the spread of African American culture and influence, and the movements for justice and equality. The Center for Family History will enable visitors to trace their genealogy, while changing exhibitions and special events will keep the Museum energized. Educational programs will provide life-long learning opportunities for visitors both young and old.
The International African American Museum will open early 2022. For more information, visit our website at or connect with us on social media @iaamuseum on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About The Duke Endowment
Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private philanthropic trust that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but each is a separate organization. For more information, go to

For more information, contact Dr. Elijah Heyward III, Chief Operating Officer, International African American Museum at [email protected] or 843 812-2437.