The Motown Museum in downtown Detroit announced today a $5 million gift from American novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The museum is one of six Michigan-based nonprofits to receive a gift yesterday from the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
ACCESS in Dearborn, Allied Media Projects, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the Sphinx organization, all based in Detroit, received donations as well, but the amounts have not been announced. The grant from Scott is the largest donation to their Hitsville Next expansion, an educational and creative hub for the museum, which broke ground in 2019 and is set to open this year.
“Motown Museum is just over the moon that (Scott) selected us to be one of her nonprofit gift recipients,” says Motown Museum Chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry. “As a leading cultural institution, Ms. Scott felt a powerful connection to our mission of inspiring future generations — particularly youth and people of color in Detroit — to identify and amplify the power of their unique artistic talents and extraordinary entrepreneurial aspirations.”
Scott and her husband Dan, spent the first quarter of 2021 identifying and evaluating equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected. The couple decided to allocate $2.7 billion in gifts to 286 high-impact organizations.
“Arts and cultural institutions can strengthen communities by transforming spaces, fostering empathy, reflecting community identity, advancing economic mobility, improving academic outcomes, lowering crime rates, and improving mental health, so we evaluated smaller arts organizations creating these benefits with artists and audiences from culturally rich regions and identity groups that donors often overlook,” says Scott.
Announced in late 2016, Hitsville Next will add 50,000 square-feet to its facility featuring interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, an expanded retail experience, and meeting spaces designed by renowned architects and exhibit designers.
Founded in 1985 by Esther Gordy Edwards, Motown Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to preserving, protecting, and presenting the Motown story through educational experiences.