Google has approved a new grant for a collaboration between College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center, the Lowcountry Unity Fund, and the International African American Museum (IAAM), in hopes of starting constructive conversations on race. The grant and partnership are in response to the Mother Emanuel church shootings last year.
The grant totals $375,000, with $125,000 going to Avery, $175,000 to the IAAM, and $75,000 given to the Unity Fund. This is the second round of funding Google has given these three groups.
Avery Center on Bull Street
Similar to the first round of funding, received in June 2015, Avery, CofC’s African American culture and history center, will use the money to host a speaker series. “Our mission really is to promote public awareness and raising social justice issues in the Lowcountry and beyond. That’s definitely critical right now as the city’s grappling with these major trials connected to racial violence, so we’re hoping we’ll be a transformative resource in the area,” says Mary Battle, Avery’s Public Historian.
“We definitely needed to do more community outreach to make more substantial long term systemic change,” says Daron-Lee Calhoun, Avery’s Race and Social Justice Initiative Coordinator. The grant will aid in the Research Center’s push for longer lasting programs like their upcoming equal employment workshop and African art exhibit.
The funding for the IAAM will inch it closer to its estimated $75 million cost. In the past year, the museum’s planning has made significant strides, with $25 million brought in from the city and county, former business executive Michael Moore being named its president, and its construction plan being put in front of the Architectural Review Board. The museum is scheduled to be finished in late 2018 or early 2019.