The General Motors Foundation will donate a $1 million grant to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is set to open in 2015 and will be contiguous to the National Monument in Washington D.C. GM Foundation President Vivian Packard presented the grant to the museum’s founding director Lonnie G. Bunch III at the auto show in Washington. Packard believes the $1 million grant allows the GM Foundation to continue supporting the Smithsonian and its efforts to bring life to African American history and culture.
Since 1998, the Smithsonian has received monetary contributions from GM that total over $11 million. Bunch III said he is honored to have the GM Foundation join the museum’s generous group of donors which include considerable foundations such as American Express, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation.
The GM Foundation has history with supporting the Smithsonian that dates back to 1954. It began when a group of GM scientists and engineers developed and donated a mechanical heart pump to the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History Division of Science and Medicine. The donation made the world’s first open heart surgery possible.