Former Wall Street investment banker and Lake City native Darla Moore is donating $1 million toward the construction of the $75 million International African American Museum, adding to a string of gifts to educational and cultural causes in her home state.
The money was pledged through her foundation to the Founders Fund, according to an announcement Monday.
It follows last week's $10 million donation to the museum from the Lilly Endowment.
Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, one of the chief fundraisers for the Concord Street project, called Moore "a philanthropic leader whose long-term commitment to South Carolina has been transformative in beautifying and preserving our communities."
Moore previously has made major donations to several of the state’s higher-education institutions. She also was founder of the Charleston Parks Conservancy and chief organizer of ArtFields, an annual art festival held in her Pee Dee home town.
"Over the years, I’ve collaborated with Mayor Riley on many endeavors that benefited Charleston," Moore said in a written statement. "This is one more extraordinary opportunity to work together to better not only this city, but our country at large."
Work on the waterfront museum is scheduled to start early next year on the former site of Gadsden’s Wharf, where nearly half of all enslaved Africans forced to America disembarked.
"Darla and her foundation have demonstrated a deep commitment to institutions that promote education, improve communities and sharpen young minds," said Michael Boulware Moore, CEO of the museum.
Another $9 million in private donations is needed for construction to start. The opening is planned for early 2020.
A third of the museum’s estimated $75 million cost will come from private gifts and a third will come from the state. The city and county of Charleston will contribute the rest.
The museum has announced several other major donations this year, including $500,000 each from Wells Fargo bank and tiremaker Michelin, and $250,000 each from AT&T, Bennett Hospitality and TD Bank.
Moore, who owns a home in downtown Charleston, became partner in Rainwater Inc. after her Wall Street banking career and went on to launch and chair the Palmetto Institute, a nonprofit think tank that sought to raise incomes across South Carolina. She was the first woman to be featured on the cover of Fortune magazine and was among the first two females admitted to Augusta National Golf Club.
Her gift to the the International African American Museum is the latest large financial donation Moore has made in her home state.
The 1975 University of South Carolina graduate is a leading benefactor to her alma mater with donations of $25 million in 1998 and $45 million in 2004 to the business school named for her. She gave another $5 million to USC in 2011 to help establish the Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research.
Elsewhere, Moore donated $10 million to Clemson University for the Eugene T. Moore School of Education, which was named in honor of her father, a Clemson alumnus and former teacher, coach, and principal in Lake City. Another $1 million gift went to the music department at Claflin University in Orangeburg.