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November 23, 2020
 
King Boston Raises $1.7M for Effort to Enhance Racial Equity
King Boston

November 9, 2020 — King Boston, a Boston-based nonprofit working to create a new memorial and programs honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, today announced that it has raised $1.72 million toward a new, multi-million dollar fundraising campaign to underwrite a memorial to the Kings on Boston Common and support ongoing efforts to end economic and social disparities.

Calling the campaign “an opportunity to make a statement on racial equity,” King Boston said the effort aims to raise a minimum of $250,000 from each of 25 organizations.

The new fundraising campaign was launched in late summer, and is separate from $7 million previously raised to help fund the memorial, which is expected to cost around $9 million.

Initial donations for the new, so-called “25 for 250” campaign, which aims to raise at least $6.25 million, came from Cooley LLP, Deloitte LLP, Boston University, MFS Investment Management, State Street Foundation, and The Boston Foundation. The six organizations have jointly contributed $1.72 million.

In 1965, Dr. King called upon Boston to confront the problems of racism and economic injustice,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of King Boston. “To say that 25 of Boston’s most influential businesses and organizations came together to support King Boston’s mission speaks volumes about the building of this memorial.”

The funds raised will be put toward “The Embrace,” a 22-foot-high memorial consisting of four intertwined bronze arms will honor the Kings, Boston civil rights leaders and the city’s unique contribution to social justice. The sculpture will be located on Boston Common, where, in 1965, Dr. King led thousands to march while calling upon the city to live by its highest ideals. The sculpture will honor the Kings, Boston civil rights leaders and the city’s unique contribution to social justice.

Once enough funds for the memorial are secured, King Boston said the remaining funds will go toward its King Center for Economic Justice, which supports action-oriented solutions to end economic and social disparities, and a week-long Embrace Ideas festival, which will kick off with the memorial’s unveiling in summer 2022.

The festival “will connect the arts and humanities to foster greater community among creators, learners, and leaders in service to racial equity, healing, well-being, and joy.” Embrace Ideas complements “The Embrace” memorial and the King Center for Economic Justice and serves as part of an ongoing movement toward racial equity, justice, and resiliency in Boston and Massachusetts.

“Boston is looking in the mirror to confront its history of racial injustice and violence and is now beginning the hard, sometimes painful, work of building a new future that reflects the boldest promises and aspirations of this great city,” said Seth Pearson, of Cooley LLP, who sits on King Boston's board.

“Boston has the opportunity post-pandemic to continue and differentiate itself from the rest of the country by being one of the most welcoming, friendly, forward-looking cities in America,” added Paris Jeffries. “That requires a more universal commitment. It’s important that it’s not two or three donors driving this project. If we can get 25 institutions bring this thing home, it’s a further demonstration of the broad-based support for the ideals the Kings stood for. This belongs to all of us.”

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