Have we truly felt the impact a healthy Black community can have on the broader community?
Have we listened to what our region needs?
Have we seen the progress we’re yearning for?
Bigger than a Community Center, Broader than a Cultural Center
Madison’s Black community needs a place to come together.
A place to foster and accelerate the Black entrepreneurial spirit.
A place to celebrate the excellence we bring to this city and beyond.
A place to feel the physical, mental and emotional relief of our culture.
A place to laugh, talk and see ourselves represented.
Madison needs The Center for Black Excellence and Culture.
For over 30 years, Rev. Dr. Alex Gee has sought meaningful Black solutions for his native city of Madison. The Center is his vision – and the community’s conduit – for challenging structures that impede diversity and sustained Black advancement.
Listening sessions exclusively with the Black community, strategies formed by Black planners, and a space designed by Black architects ensure that Black thoughts share every facet of The Center’s creation.
Black elders and youth are an anchor in our culture, and they will be an anchor in the facility. From fundraising to program development, Black leadership regardless of age is central to The Center’s success.
Affirming, Inspiring and Advancing Black Excellence
Rev. Dr. Alex Gee, a powerhouse team of Black leaders and hundreds of diverse Black voices are shaping The Center, ensuring it brings together a collective Black brilliance that affirms, inspires and advances the Black community in Madison and beyond.
Lord Cultural Resources, the world’s largest cultural sector planning practice and the team behind the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., is helping establish The Center’s operations, staffing and facility recommendations and final business plan.
What The Center Will Mean for Madison Businesses
Recruiting Black talent to Madison is a well-documented challenge. The Center aims to change that in two main ways. First, The Center will educate Madison-based companies that they need to go beyond offering a welcoming environment for people of color and begin truly attracting Black talent by providing clear paths to success within their organizations. Second, The Center will give Black professionals a reason to keep their skills in Madison by providing viable opportunities to build wealth, ready access to Black culture and a place to collaborate and feel acknowledged and seen within their community.
Areas of Focus
Health and Wellness
How does cultural connection stimulate Black Wellness?
Interconnectedness within Black culture is key to building a thriving and uplifted community where all are invested in everyone doing well.
“Wellness is more than medical treatment. Wellness requires the creation of an environment where people can be in spaces where they can laugh, reflect, recharge, and see themselves and others like them in the most positive light. It is holistic healing. The Center for Black Excellence and Culture will be that for the Black community.”
– Dr. Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH, Mother, Pediatrician, Public Health Leader
Leadership and Innovation
Where can Black innovators find a place for mentorship and to build social capital?
Madison’s business community and Black innovators need a space to collaborate, plan, and ignite solutions that help recruit, retain, and nurture Black talent, building Black wealth in the process.
“Leaders aren’t just selected, they are groomed and developed. The fact that The Center for Black Excellence and Culture will create space for enhancing personal and professional development and leveraging social capital creation while mentoring Black innovators is a game-changer for our entire community.”
– Ray Allen, Secretary of Workforce Development and Department of Financial Institutions
Performing and Arts Visuals
Where does the Black Community take center stage?
Madison is full of untapped artistic potential. Black culture is experienced profoundly through the arts – and it needs a home where it can be revered.
“The Center for Black Excellence and Culture is a dream come true and embodies what I’ve always envisioned for Madison – a place that will finally celebrate, cultivate and empower artists within our culture and community.”
– Cassandra Marzette, Artist, Teacher
Youth and Families
How do we inspire the next generation of dreamers?
Our youth crave a welcoming and galvanizing place to dream and prepare for a bright future, while our elders need space to act as the brilliant pillars of support that they are for the community.
“Resources and support offered through a Family Resource Center to be located within the facility will provide a safe, welcoming, and comfortable environment for young Black families. The programming will be diversity-informed, culturally appropriate, and relationship-based to provide social cohesion, strengthen families, and foster resilience.”
– Ms. Betty Banks, Executive Director of Today Not Tomorrow Family Resource Center, Co-founder of The Madison Times