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January 18, 2021
King Boston Gets $1.75M to Build Memorial, Buoy Programs
King Boston

December 20, 2020 — King Boston, a Boston nonprofit working to create a new memorial and programs honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, last week announced it received a $1 million donation from the Wagner Foundation, and $750,000 in pledges from three corporations, for the memorial and to support programs that address economic and racial inequities.

The gifts are in addition to a $1 million donation previously announced by the Barr Foundation to support the same goals.

“We’re honored and humbled that the Barr Foundation and Wagner Foundation are partners with us in the fight for racial equity and economic justice,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of King Boston. “It all brings us closer to reaching our goals of creating a space for community-led social action here in Boston.”

Funds from the Barr and Wagner Foundations will support The King Center for Economic Justice, which “will create innovative ideas to end economic and social disparities, engage residents with data about the systemic issues they face, and solicit their input to cultivate greater community.”

“Investing in King Boston supports our community’s aspiration to live out the values and vision espoused by the Kings, and we are honored to be partners in this important and necessary work,” said Jim Canales, president of the Barr Foundation.

The $750,000 in commitments will go toward “The Embrace,” a 22-foot-high memorial to be located on Boston Common, which will consist of four intertwined bronze arms intended to inspire the social justice values that the Kings espoused.

The funds came from Charles River Labs, Ralph and Janice James, and an anonymous corporation who each pledged $250,000 as part of King Boston’s “25 for 250” campaign, which calls for 25 Boston businesses and institutions to donate at least $250,000 toward the nonprofit’s memorial representing inclusion.

“We are so thankful for the financial support,” said Paris Jeffries. “This memorial will not only honor the King legacy in Boston but also serve as one of the city’s new symbols of racial equity and social justice. To see the community come together like this says so much about who we are, and where we want to be.”

To help advance the nonprofit, two executives will join the organization. Tammy Tai will join as deputy director and assist with developing public policy and advocacy, external relations, and general strategic planning. Greg Ball will serves as director of embrace ideas, focusing on the arts, well-being initiatives, and an annual Embrace Ideas and Arts Festival on Equity and Justice.

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