Imagine a place built by the Black community where we can provide solutions and opportunities.
Imagine a place that the Black community owns and utilizes to strengthen our voice and share our excellence with our children as well as the broader community.
Imagine a place where Black children are seen as future leaders and not as problems to be solved.
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.
Over 800 Black voices have shaped the vision for The Center Strategies formed by Black planners and a space designed by Black architects ensure that Black culture shapes 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?
Medical research shows that strong social and cultural connection is key to building a community where Black people live healthier, longer lives because they feel valued and that they belong.
“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 Black innovators need a place to grow their talents, pursue entrepreneurial ambitions, and improve financial literacy, 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.
“While growing up in Madison, Black mentors provided a safe space for me to learn, fail, be held accountable, and be inspired. I believe that all Black youth need these kind of cultural relationships to push them towards being their best selves. The Center will connect youth with Black leaders who will believe in them and will invest in their future.
– Alexandra Lewis, Preacher, Teacher, and Speaker