GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives (GRAAMA) has recently partnered with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation through a $150,000 grant from the organization’s Fund for Community Good. GRAAMA will use the funds to support pre-campaign efforts toward the goal of establishing a permanent home and to encourage continued efforts toward organizational sustainability and archiving collections. 

The foundation’s grant and continued partnership support the next phase of GRAAMA’s presence in West Michigan as the premier source of local and nationally related African American history and culture. Having opened its doors on December 2016 at its temporary downtown location, this award will allow the board to aggressively begin solidifying plans for constructing a permanent building offering the community an inclusive and diverse museum.

“We are extremely elated to partner with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation through this award. This grant is huge for GRAAMA and the community as a whole. In the three years that that Museum has existed on Monroe Center, our programs and exhibits have garnered overflow crowds and national buzz. Our dream was always to have our own, larger facility and this grant allows us to concentrate on raising the needed capital for a new building.”

George Bayard curator, and director for GRAAMA

“We are excited about our partnership with GRAAMA because the stories of African Americans and their legacies in Grand Rapids deserve to be told with the empathy, passion, pride, and connectivity of those who understand them best. GRAAMA’s efforts to secure a permanent location align with our values in helping to create a community where we connect across perspectives.” – Janean Couch, program director, Grand Rapids Community Foundation

In less than three years in operation, GRAAMA has been recognized by various local and national organizations including the American Association for State and Local History, WMCAT, Rapid Growth, Grand Rapids magazine, 2019 Baxter History Award as well as the winner of Artprize’s 2018 “Best Venue” award and second-best art venue for 2019 Best of the West Awards.

“This grant demonstrates the foundation’s faith in GRAAMA’s continuing impact to deliver exceptional educational and cultural exhibits to our residents and visitors alike,” says board chairman Michael Curtis, “These funds provide opportunities that are good for the community since we’ve been able to unearth and present the hidden and neglected history of local African American people who made a significant impact in West Michigan.”