National Center for Civil and Human Rights Receives $17 Million Grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to Expand Center’s Footprint and Programming
New Wing to Feature Premier Space for MLK Papers; New Gallery to Engage Families and Children
ATLANTA (February 4, 2021) –The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation today announced a five-year, $17 million grant to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (The Center) in downtown Atlanta. Construction on the wing named for Arthur M. Blank at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights will begin in 2023. Located on the west side of the current building, the wing will significantly expand capacity for programs and events that advance The Center’s mission of creating dynamic experiences that inspire people to reflect on the truth of history and fight for greater rights in their communities. Importantly, it allows the Center to connect more with families and young people through exhibits and programming and encourages visitors to linger and reflect.
The three-story west wing adds nearly 15,000 sqft of new space. It will house a café and four new exhibitions spaces including a Family Gallery on the lobby level — a play space for families with children under 12 focused on justice and rights with immersive, hands-on experiences. On the upper level, there will be a Ritual and Remembrance gallery memorializing racial terror that will focus on the violent repression of African American civil and human rights and feature artifacts from The Center’s Without Sanctuary collection. Finally, the new wing will include much-needed flexible gallery space for traveling and rotating exhibitions.
“Arthur Blank invested in the idea of an Atlanta-based National Center for Civil and Human Rights more than a decade ago, before we had a building, and has been a champion ever since,” said Jill Savitt, CEO of The Center. “This generous gift allows us to expand our vision – to be a national organization working to help people tap their own power to change the world and to live with purpose. We hope Arthur Blank’s leadership investment invites others to join us in promoting fairness and dignity for all.”
With this commitment, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has provided more than $20 million to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, including an initial $1.5 million grant for construction of The Center in 2013. Blank, who hosted the annual NFL Owners Gala at The Center when Atlanta hosted Super Bowl 53 in 2019, has also pledged his proceeds from his recently published book Good Company to The Center in perpetuity.
About the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta is a cultural institution that connects the American Civil Rights Movement to the struggle for human rights around the world today. The Center features a continuously rotating exhibit from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, which includes many of Dr. King’s documents and personal items. Visitors to The Center are immersed in experiential exhibits – powerful and authentic stories, historic documents, compelling artifacts, and interactive activities. The Center is a source for ongoing dialogue — hosting educational forums and attracting world-renowned speakers and artists who work on a variety of human rights topics. For more information, visit www.civilandhumanrights.org. Join the conversation on civil and human rights: facebook.com/ctr4chr/ | instagram.com/ctr4chr/ | twitter.com/Ctr4CHR
About The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
Formed in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation promotes innovative solutions to transform the lives of youth and their families, seeking results that move communities beyond what seems possible today. The Foundation is focused on healthy families and healthy communities, investing in education and youth development, parks and greenspace, social justice issues and community revitalization, and leads giving programs for each of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, PGA TOUR Superstore, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch and Paradise Valley Ranch. Mr. Blank, chairman of the foundation, co-founded The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. Through the foundation and his family’s personal giving, Mr. Blank has granted more than $800 million to various charitable organizations.