Defend Black Memory, Black Museums, and Black Life

The contributions to this fund are designed to be equally shared between the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and The Colored Girls Museum

The Colored Girls Museum (TCGM) and The Paul Robeson House & Museum (PRHM) are two esteemed Black-women founded and led house museums located in Philadelphia whose missions emerge out of our sincere duty to African Diasporic histories, cultural traditions, and political commitments. We recognize our tremendous power and reach as dynamic cultural resources in the Philadelphia region, receiving visitors and tourists from all over the world to our spaces to engage with our exhibitions, events, and programming. At the same time, we treasure our deep relationships with our close neighbors, serving as spaces for collective care, community forums, and political education. Our intentions have always been to offer ourselves as resource and sanctuary.

TCGM and PRHM are small (and small is good.) community-oriented institutions situated in working-class residential neighborhoods serving largely Black communities which we know to be disproportionately impacted  by COVID-19. The dramatic loss of life, rates of illness, historic unemployment, and health vulnerabilities experienced by essential workers in our neighborhoods ask that we be mindful of ensuring everyone has access to life necessities during this time, including that a stimulus for Black Philadelphians is critical for our communities to recover and survive.

The Colored Girls Museum is located in West  Germantown and the Paul Robeson House & Museum is located in the Walnut Hill neighborhood of West Philadelphia. We make due on the very marginal overhead that we hold in our arts-based non-profits, cherishing our committed volunteers, primarily Black cultural workers, to whom we are always sincerely grateful for their offerings that allow us to fulfill our dedicated and spiritual mission to affirm Black memory and Black life. We have a high burden to meet in reopening our institutions---the cost associated with making the improvements to our spaces which will ensure the safety of already vulnerable communities is vital. 

Yet, we admittedly navigate a shared struggle existing within an inequitable philanthropic landscape where research has persistently found that “transformative community organizations led by women and girls of color have zero funding and are entirely dependent on volunteers.” This should not be the case, but it is. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expected cuts we see coming (even as we FIGHT BACK !) in the Philadelphia cultural sector, we find it incredibly important that we invite our communities to join with us at this moment in this urgent call for support. To no surprise, we expect that the philanthropic climate for sustainable arts funding moving forward will do what it historically has done and ignore us. However, as beloved WPCA founder Fran Aulston let it be said  “We never let having no money stop us!”

This capital campaign, at minimum, focuses on making our institutions ready for a gradual, safe, and sustainable return in alignment with established physical distancing protocols. We created this fund to ensure that we create access to personal protective equipment, sanitizing materials, air purifiers, contactless fixtures, and to recover lost revenue in anticipation of reducing the number of visitors in our spaces. When our Black arts institutions are stable, we exist as critical infrastructure for our communities to withstand traumatizing, turbulent times and organize the fight so that the source(s) of these traumas may be eviscerated. Our organizations are models of grassroots innovation, responsiveness, and flexibility providing exactly the kind of resources that are necessary to push through difficult seasons such as now.

Our Black mamas told us that when we ask for something, it's more than a notion to name what we truly desire and to that end, we provide these descriptions of what this fund, if/when it achieves its full proposed goal, will support:

**We are also open to opportunities where these resources can be provided through in-kind services and other potential approaches. Please email us if you have offerings or insights around these goals.**

Shared Costs between the Paul Robeson House & The Colored Girls Museum

Air Purifiers: $6,700
Sanitizer Stations: $3,000 
Protective Equipment & Cleaning Supplies: $4,000

Goals for The Colored Girls Museum

Cleaning staff: $20,000
—Contracting with a professional, high quality cleaning service to provide hygienic cleaning throughout TCGM in response to visitor tours for 2020-21.

Stretch: The Colored Girls Museum

Porch renovations: $17,000
—The porch has always been such a significant space in black culture --TCGM will upgrade the front porch of The Colored Girls Museum replacing porch floor boards, banisters, and railings to extend the exhibiting space of the museum for visitors. The Porch will act as another room—with options for programs in the garden or on the porch—providing weather-permitting programming space that align with social distance requirements. An enhanced outdoor space additionally creates an opportunity for further revenue generating activities as it can be made available for rentals. 

Goals for The Paul Robeson House & Museum / The West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

Accessibility renovations: $23,000
—In addition to ensuring the availability of PPE materials, air purifiers, and contactless fixtures, the Paul Robeson House & Museum is currently entirely wheelchair inaccessible. Achieving these funds, we seek to install a wheelchair lift, expand rear doorways, and renovate the first floor bathroom in order to meet ADA accessibility standards, while in alignment with Historic Property guidelines.

Stretch: The Paul Robeson House & Museum

Kitchen remodel: $20,000
—By renovating the kitchen within 4949 Walnut St., we seek to multiply potential uses of the PRHM/WPCA complex. The possibility for creating sanitary conditions for food storage, reheating, and service would open us up to the possibility for expanding engagement and revenue generated from off-site meetings, small conference proceedings, and shared community dinners. This would require a full rehab of the kitchen, which necessitates new flooring, cabinetry, countertops, and appliances.

Total amount as described: $93,700. With fees, we are setting a GoFundMe goal of $100,000.

Donations (2.6K)

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  • Anonymous
    • $40 
    • 3 yrs
  • Patricia Biswanger
    • $10 
    • 3 yrs
  • Daniel Gilberg
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Melanie Marcus
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
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Fundraising team (2)

Christopher R. Rogers
Philadelphia, PA
West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Vashti DuBois
Team member

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