Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation

$21 million Hollywood

The entertainment tycoon — a member of the museum council — is one of the museum’s earliest supporters. She gave $1 million in 2007 and $12 million in 2013, making her the largest donor at that stage.

Lilly Endowment

$20 million Indianapolis

The private foundation created by the family behind the pharmaceutical business gave $10 million to the capital campaign in 2010 and a second $10 million in 2015 to endow the Center for the Study of African American Religion and a senior curator. The center will collect and preserve religious artifacts and research African American faith.

Robert Frederick Smith

$20 million Austin

The noted philanthropist is chairman and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners, one of the largest investment firms in the world. A Cornell University graduate, Smith serves as chairman of Carnegie Hall. He made his gift this year.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

$12 million New York

The private foundation that promotes the arts and humanities awarded a $2 million grant in 2012 to “strengthen curatorial and conservation capacities” at the museum, according to the foundation. A second grant of $10 million was made in 2015 to endow the museum’s curatorial research centers.

The Atlantic Philanthropies

$12 million New York

Founded in 1982 by entrepreneur Chuck Feeney, the philanthropic organization addresses issues related to aging, children, health, and human rights and reconciliation around the world. Its 2015 grant was intended to “promote racial equity by supporting the creation of the first national, public museum on the African-American experience and the country’s racial history,” according to the organization.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

$10 million Seattle

The 2009 gift was outside the traditional focus of foundation, which supports health and development around the world and education in the United States. It was a “vote of confidence” and a critical step in building broad support for the design and construction of the museum, said the museum’s founding director, Lonnie Bunch, when the grant was announced. Allan Golston, president of the Gates Foundation’s U.S. program, serves on the museum council.

Rhimes Family Foundation

$10 million Hollywood

The gift from Shonda Rhimes, the TV producer behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” was announced at a donor party hosted by Denzel Washington and his wife, Pauletta, in April.

David M. Rubenstein

$10 million Washington, D.C.

The Carlyle Group co-founder and philanthropist has supported many cultural organizations in the District. A member of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents, he has given millions to the National Zoo, the Renwick Gallery, the National Archives and the Washington Monument. The David M. Rubenstein History Galleries will commemorate his 2015 gift to the new museum’s capital campaign. “The museum is a place of learning, inspiration and healing that honors the important contributions African Americans have made to our country over hundreds of years,” Rubenstein said.

Ford Foundation

$8.6 million New York

The private foundation has made several contributions to the museum dating to 2006, according to a Ford spokeswoman. The largest gift, $7.5 million, was made in 2011 for the design and building of the museum galleries focused on African American life after the civil rights movement


$7.05 million Minneapolis

The retailer donated to the capital campaign for the construction of the museum in 2011 and made another gift to support the opening ceremonies in September. Target chief executive Brian Cornell is a member of the museum council. “As a founding donor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and a sponsor of its grand opening, Target celebrates the importance of its mission to tell all Americans the rich story of the African American experience,” Cornell said.

Kaiser Permanente

$7 million Oakland, Calif.

One of the country’s leading health-care providers, Kaiser Permanente has contributed several grants to the museum, including a $5 million gift to the capital campaign in 2013, and is a sponsor of the museum’s cafe and its September opening ceremonies. The museum’s vision of diversity and inclusion reflect the values of the company, officials said. “Our donation ultimately will give millions of people around the world the opportunity to better understand the African American perspective and how generations of our history are interwoven into the fabric of America,” said chairman and chief executive Bernard J. Tyson.

Robert L. Johnson

$6 million West Palm Beach, Fla.

The entrepreneur and founder of Black Entertainment Television gave $2 million to the museum’s capital campaign between 2007 and 2008 and followed that in 2015 with the donation of several pieces from his art collection, valued at some $4 million. Recognized as the country’s first African American billionaire, Johnson is founder and chairman of the RLJ Cos. in Bethesda, Md., and a founding member of the museum council. His donations are meant to “support the museum in telling the story of the tragedy and triumph of the African American experience in America to all Americans and the rest of the world,” he said.

General Electric

$5.5 million Fairfield, Conn.

GE contributed $5 million in 2014 in 2015 toward the construction of the museum and gave $500,000 last year. “Diversity and inclusiveness are essential to GE’s productivity, creativity, innovation and competitive advantage,” GE said in a statement. “We are excited that this public institution will soon be open to all, where anyone is welcome to participate, collaborate, and learn more about African American history and culture.”


$5 million St. Paul, Minn.

3M’s philanthropy focuses on education, community and the environment. A longtime partner of the Smithsonian, the company’s first gift to the new museum was made in 2012. “Over our 20-year partnership with the Smithsonian, 3M’s support reflects our innovative approach to improving lives,” said Kim Price, the manufacturer’s senior vice president of corporate communications and enterprise services. “We are honored to support this historic museum as global communities gather for a shared experience.”

American Express

$5 million New York

The financial-services company donated $5 million in 2011 to support the construction of the museum. American Express has a long history of supporting historic preservation, company officials said. “That work is typically associated with the preservation of buildings and monuments, but it also concerns the preservation of artifacts and cultural heritage,” said Tim McClimon, vice president of corporate social responsibility. “It’s a little atypical for us to [fund] construction of a new building, but here our support is going toward the Cultural Expressions gallery, the part of the museum that is going to display artifacts and the history of African American culture.” American Express chief executive Kenneth Chenault has been an advocate for the museum. Chenault joined the advisory council in 2004 and became chairman of the capital campaign committee in 2012. He and his wife, Kathryn, are listed among the $1 million donors.


$5 million Chicago

The aerospace company donated $5 million to the museum in 2007 to support development and design. “Boeing has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and recognizes that our success as a company and country is intertwined with the successes and accomplishments of countless African American leaders, scientists, military service members, engineers and innovators,” said Gordon Johndroe, Boeing’s vice president of communications and government operations.

Rockefeller Foundation

$5 million New York

The foundation rarely funds capital projects, but it made an exception in 2008 with a $3 million gift toward the museum’s design and construction. In 2011, it awarded an additional $2 million for the content development and design of the “Panorama of the Modern Civil Rights Movement” and “Interactive Lunch Counter” exhibitions. The foundation has a history of funding institutions that advance the participation and representation of African Americans, including the funding of historically black colleges, according to a spokeswoman. Its president, Judith Rodin, will attend the opening.T

UnitedHealth Group

$5 million Silver Spring, Md.

The health-care company was one of several corporations that donated $5 million toward the capital campaign before the 2012 groundbreaking.


$5 million Bentonville, Ark.

The retailer donated $5 million in 2010 toward the design and construction of the museum, part of its broad effort to invest in its communities. “As a member of over 10,000 communities across the U.S., we care about giving all our customers a voice to share their heritage, and that’s why we are so proud to have played a role in the development of the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of Walmart corporate affairs, adding that the museum “will help tell a vital part of our nation’s history.”