South Carolinian Marva Smalls, widely recognized as one of the most influential leaders in media, has pledged $250,000 in support of the International African American Museum (IAAM).
Ms. Smalls noted that, “This is a unique opportunity to give back to my home state. Now, more than ever, the history and culture embodied by the site of Gadsden’s Wharf, where the IAAM will be built, needs to be illuminated. We will elevate the African American narrative and recognize the hundreds of thousands who disembarked on this sacred ground.”
Ms. Smalls has more than three decades of leadership experience in the public and private sectors. She is currently Executive Vice President and Global Head of Inclusion Strategy for Viacom and Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, and Chief of Staff for the Nickelodeon Group, directing all pro-social and corporate responsibility initiatives.
“Since joining the IAAM board of directors in 2016, Marva has brought a wealth of experience, leadership, relationship cultivation and philanthropy,” said Michael Boulware Moore, IAAM president and CEO. “In addition to making this incredibly generous pledge, her contributions to the board are innumerable, and she has been vital in guiding the IAAM’s fundraising efforts.”
Ms. Smalls’ work at Viacom includes promoting multiculturalism, inclusivity and diversity around the world. She shares these values in her personal life, evident in her extraordinary philanthropic work through the Marva Smalls Endowment with Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina, including her $1 million donation to the University of South Carolina’s Ronald McNair Center. The endowment provides scholarships and support to engineering students from under-represented minority populations.
“Marva’s myriad accomplishments have brought so much pride to the state of South Carolina. She has wisely chosen worthy organizations to support and collaborate with, and the IAAM is honored to be counted among them,” said Joseph P. Riley, Jr., IAAM board member and former mayor of South Carolina.
The IAAM is less than $5 million away from meeting its private fundraising goal. Construction is expected to begin this summer.