Banneker Clocks Chicago Project

The Banneker Watch and Clock Company has been around in various forms for almost 15 years working hard to ensure that the history of our namesake Benjamin Banneker is never forgotten as it nearly was when his home and all his personal belongings were destroyed in a fire set by arsonists shortly after he died (fire was set while his funeral was going on several hundred yards away)  in Oct of 1806.  Learn more about Benjamin Banneker on our website  

**UPDATE**  Benjamin Banneker Universal Institute is now an official corporation and is in the process of filing for 501c3 status as a nonprofit organization.  We thank everyone who has helped with the process and we couldn't be more excited about the future of this endeavor.

**UPDATE** We have also identified a location in Chicago (4025 S. Drexel)
that was a former community center adjacent to the Grant AME Church.  This location is fantastic and has several features that will allow the Banneker Chicago Project to grow roots and take shape while impacting thousands of people in the community in a positive way.  The Church has agreed to provide the space if we can help with the repairs needed to get it back into working shape.  We will work together to provide programming and develop the space into something special that will serve the community.  The main items needed to get this building back into a usable state are a new roof, new fire/smoke detector system that conforms to local codes, and general maintenance replacing/updating restroom and classroom facilities.  We have received several estimates and can accomplish these upgrades for approximately $150,000.  Therefore, the first $150,000 in funds raised will go towards the repairs needed on the building while the rest will be allocated towards programming and long term development of a Benjamin Banneker classroom, recording/podcasting studio, art and educational classrooms, and adding an elevator to the building to make it fully accessible to everyone.  

The long-term goal is to develop a manufacturing presence in Chicago and to create some jobs to positively impact a community that is in desperate need of help.  We aspire to teach a new generation the art of clock design and assembly and more importantly the value of producing a product that you can be proud of and learn from. 

In addition to jobs and internships created directly, Banneker is also planning to immediately start using the additional space to develop the Benjamin Banneker Universal Institute which is designed to provide secondary education opportunities and creative outlets for everyone from High School Students to Senior Citizens.  We envision developing an Institute designed to provide educational opportunities and real training to help prepare young adults for successful professional careers.  Chicago will be the first location but the goal is to eventually launch other Benjamin Banneker Universal Institute locations in urban centers across the U.S. 

Create Jobs, Inspire Dreams, Offer Hope and Provide Real Opportunities

We have been developing this plan for years now and have tested several concepts designed to enhance and positively impact urban communities across the country.  

Each Clock Banneker puts in a school or classroom has a message behind it and our goal is to make sure that by the 4th grade every child in America has learned about Benjamin Banneker and his many amazing achievements.  We plan to create  a lesson plan revolving around a clock kit that school kids can actually build in class while learning about Benjamin Banneker and his inspirational life story.   

We have also started preliminary planning work on a progressive living documentary with top filmmakers and celebrities designed to educate students and adults alike about the life and accomplishments of Benjamin Banneker through film, music, and art to tell the story of his life and make sure it is never again forgotten.  

The Banneker youth education program leads up to High School where Banneker founder and CEO Derrick Holmes has always felt students shouldn't be forced to pay for class jewelry.  If students graduate after 12+ years of school they should be rewarded for their achievements which is why Banneker piloted a program designed to align corporate sponsors with celebrity alumni in an effort to inspire High School Students to finish school.  Students will receive Banneker Graduation Watches and Jewelry upon completion of high school with the goal of creating a self-sustaining program that will continue to effect a positive change on the drop out rate of High School Students across the country while ensuring that everyone learns about the important historical contributions of Benjamin Banneker.  

In addition to these plans Banneker Clock company is currently developing other ideas to encourage creativity and inspire students across the country to push themselves to learn new skills like Benjamin Banneker did over 250 years ago.  Some of the funds generated through this GoFundMe may be used to establish these programs designed to create yearly scholarship opportunities for some of the students who participate.  

$1,000,000 is the first goal to get things rolling full speed and get the Benjamin Banneker Universal Institute established.  We know it will be a long grind and take more to establish our ultimate goal of creating a Clock and Graduation Watch/Jewelry manufacturing presence in Chicago but we also know we can make a big difference and positively impact a lot of people every step of the way from Grade School, through Middle School, High School, and beyond.   Equally important we can also insure that Benjamin Banneker, one of America's greatest Forgotten Founding Fathers, gets his rightful place in History and his memory and contributions to our country live on forever.  

We are proud to partner with Joe Madison - The Black Eagle on this endeavor.  A portion of all profits on sales of The Black Eagle Baller  will be donated to the Chicago Project and used to help establish the above programs and others designed to positively impact a community in desperate need.   We thank Joe, his wife Sherry, and all of his amazing listeners for their never ending support,  inspiration, and encouragement.  Together we will make a difference.

  • Jazzy B 
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
  • Audrey Holland 
    • $100 
    • 54 mos
  • T B 
    • $100 
    • 55 mos
  • L D 
    • $10 
    • 56 mos
  • Leonard Pierce 
    • $10 
    • 61 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Dave Herda 
Chicago, IL
Derrick Holmes