Richard­sons do­nate $5M to mu­seum

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Local - BY KATHER­INE PER­ALTA kper­alta@char­lot­teob­ Kather­ine Per­alta: 704-358-5079, @katieper­alta

Jerry Richard­son, the for­mer Carolina Pan­thers owner who sold the team amid ac­cu­sa­tions of work­place mis­con­duct, and his wife, Ros­alind, have do­nated $5 mil­lion to Charleston’s In­ter­na­tional African Amer­i­can Mu­seum.

The mu­seum is ex­pected to open in 2021.

In a state­ment last week, mu­seum of­fi­cials said the Richard­sons’ gift is the largest do­na­tion yet from in­di­vid­u­als.

The Richard­sons’ gift in­cludes a $3 mil­lion en­dow­ment to pay for field trips for stu­dents who could not oth­er­wise af­ford to visit the mu­seum. More than 10,000 stu­dents from across the Caroli­nas and Ge­or­gia will be able to make the trip thanks to the Richard­sons’ do­na­tion, mu­seum of­fi­cials es­ti­mated.

The rest of the Richard­sons’ gift in­cludes $1 mil­lion for the con­struc­tion of the mu­seum and $1 mil­lion to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of the IAAM’s ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum, mu­seum pro­grams and out­reach pro­grams ahead of its open­ing.

Bids for the con­struc­tion of the mu­seum are be­ing fi­nal­ized, and ground­break­ing is ex­pected to take place within the next six months.

Jerry Richard­son, who was awarded an NFL fran­chise in 1993, put the Pan­thers up for sale in De­cem­ber hours af­ter Sports Il­lus­trated pub­lished a story that de­tailed “sig­nif­i­cant” mon­e­tary set­tle­ments with at least four for­mer Carolina Pan­thers em­ploy­ees as a re­sult of in­ap­pro­pri­ate work­place com­ments and con­duct by Richard­son.

The mis­con­duct in­cluded “sex­u­ally sugges­tive lan­guage and be­hav­ior, and on at least one oc­ca­sion di­rect­ing a racial slur at an African-Amer­i­can Pan­thers scout,” SI re­ported.

In June, the NFL fined Richard­son a league-record $2.75 mil­lion af­ter a month­s­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion sub­stan­ti­ated the sex­ual and racial mis­con­duct claims. In July, the $2.275 bil­lion sale of the team, also a league record for a fran­chise, to bil­lion­aire hedge fund man­ager David Tep­per was fi­nal­ized.

The In­ter­na­tional African Amer­i­can Mu­seum will be built at Charleston’s Gads­den’s Wharf, the site where mil­lions of en­slaved Africans forced to Amer­ica through the Transat­lantic Slave Trade dis­em­barked. In the state­ment Thurs­day, Richard­son said he and his wife are grate­ful to sup­port the mu­seum’s mission.

“Amer­ica will be a bet­ter place the mo­ment the IAAM opens its doors on this his­toric ground,” Richard­son said.

He added that he and his wife think that “think it’s im­por­tant for all Amer­i­cans to un­der­stand and re­spect the con­tri­bu­tions made by African Amer­i­cans to our coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment.”

Jerry Richard­son

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