City leaders pledge $250K to development of The Center for Black Excellence and Culture

Rendering of the future Center for Black Excellence and Culture on Madison's south side
Rendering of the future Center for Black Excellence and Culture on Madison's south side

MADISON, Wis. — City leaders have pledged $250,000 to The Center for Black Excellence and Culture to help with strategy, planning and programming preparations.

The city’s pledge comes a few months after Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced more than $800,000 of the county’s 2021 budget would be put aside to help organizers pursue and purchase land for the center.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said she’s “pleased” that the city will play a role in establishing the new cultural center.

“This is an important way for us to support, honor and promote our Black community, its leaders and businesses,”  Rhodes-Conway said. “Our community needs spaces like this Center, and I appreciate Dr. Alex Gee’s leadership and vision in creating it. I truly look forward to its opening and operation.”

The $250,000 in funding for the Center will come from the city’s Small Business and Equity Recovery Program, which was introduced in October to address “historic and current inequities in funding and support for small businesses owned by people of color,” according to a news release.

“This funding serves as a representation of the City’s commitment to acknowledging and empowering its Black community,” said Rev. Dr. Alex Gee, Jr., pastor of Fountain of Life Covenant Church and founder/CEO of the nonprofit Nehemiah Center of Urban Leadership. “We’re grateful to Mayor Rhodes-Conway and the City of Madison for embracing The Center’s mission to uplift and nurture generations of Black excellence.”

The Center for Black Excellence and Culture is expected to break ground in 2022. A public fundraising campaign for the construction and development for the Center is expected to launch later this year. Anyone who wants to donate to help fund the project can do so here.