• Print

    Gates Foundation gives Civil Rights Museum in Memphis $550,000

    Michael Lollar - The Commercial Appeal -

    The National Civil Rights Museum has received a $549,547 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Museum development director Bev Sakauye said the couple visited the museum last year, then invited the institution to apply for a grant to expand its education mission.

    Museum president Beverly Robertson said the grant will expand the museum's social-media presence and improve its website, and allow greater focus on "equity in education....

    "When the Brown versus Board of Education court order was passed in 1954, I'm sure the lawyers who fought the battle to the Supreme Court felt that an equal education would become a reality for all children. Now almost 60 years later, Memphis along with so many other urban markets, continues to wrestle with challenges that impact the quality of education received by all students," Robertson said.

    The grant is one of four with similar educational goals. Other grants went to Pittsburgh, Pa.; Hillsborough County, Fla. (Tampa-St. Petersburg); and to a consortium of schools in Los Angeles.

    The grant will help the museum improve its website design and content, include or expand information on education in its exhibits and develop a social-media strategy to engage people in discussions about educational issues.

    Bill and Melinda Gates, through the Gates Foundation, previously gave $90 million to Memphis City Schools.