Bank of America Awards $1M Grant to Fort Worth’s National Juneteenth Museum

"The National Juneteenth Museum will be a social and economic anchor in Fort Worth that will serve as a catalyst for community education and growth," Mike Pavell, Bank of America Fort Worth president, said in announcing the $1 million grant.

The National Juneteenth Museum will take a lot of work—and fundraising—to reach its $70 million goal and open to the public on Juneteenth in 2025. But thanks to a $1 million gift announced today, the planned museum in Fort Worth’s Historic Southside just took a big step forward.

Bank of America announced the million-dollar grant, which will be used to advance the development of the National Juneteenth Museum ecosystem.

“The National Juneteenth Museum will be a social and economic anchor in Fort Worth that will serve as a catalyst for community education and growth,” Mike Pavell, Bank of America Fort Worth president, said in a statement. “The bank’s foundational support acknowledges the significant role Juneteenth plays in our city’s history and is another demonstration of our commitment to advance economic opportunity and racial equality.”

“We’re excited to work with the National Juneteenth Museum to revitalize the local community and create a new legacy institution,” Pavell added.

Designed to foster an ecosystem for economic and cultural development, the museum aims to be as much of a catalyst for its surrounding community as a museum commemorating June 19, 1865—the day enslaved people in Texas received word of their freedom through a proclamation by a U.S. Army general. The 50,000-square-foot center will also host guest lectures, community events, and performances in its 250-seat amphitheater. An on-site food hall and grand green space will offer places for families to gather and connect. And a business incubator will offer opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

A foundational gift to support ‘a collaborative space to flourish’

Aerial rendering of the National Juneteenth Museum [Image: Bank of America / PR Newswire]

“The predominantly African American neighborhood surrounding the museum has helped shape Fort Worth for generations,” Jarred Howard, CEO of the National Juneteenth Museum, said in a statement. “I’m encouraged to see Bank of America helping breathe life into the Historic Southside through intentional investment in cultural education and preservation. Residents, visitors and local businesses will be able to witness the impact of Bank of America’s gift, supporting a space where generational wealth, health and tradition will have a collaborative space to flourish.”

Bank of America’s Pavell noted that the museum’s mission personifies many of the bank’s own core values.

“From supporting diverse entrepreneurs and small business development, to mobilizing the power of the arts to educate and enrich our societies, we look forward to working together to unite our community and create greater cultural understanding,” Pavell said. “This partnership is a point of pride for Bank of America not only here in Fort Worth, but in every corner of our national footprint.”

Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday in 2021

Rendering of an interior of the National Juneteenth Museum [Image: Bjarke Ingels Group and KAI Enterprises]

Juneteenth was first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law after the efforts of Fort Worth’s Opal Lee, known as the “the grandmother of Juneteenth,” the late Lula Briggs Galloway, and others.

Howard, a former Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce executive, worked behind the scenes for over seven years to spark the vision of building the museum, partly to support economic revitalization in the surrounding Southside community. He was appointed CEO of the museum in May by the museum’s board.

The first steps toward the museum’s construction began in February, when demolition work began at the site.

R E A D   N E X T

  • Slated to be built in Fort Worth's Historic Southside neighborhood, the planned $70 million museum will get the city funding once the balance for the project has been raised. Designed by the New York office of Denmark-based Bjarke Ingels Group, the building will house the museum on its second level, with a business incubator, restaurant, 250-seat amphitheater, and storefronts at ground level. “Literally and figuratively, it was designed to be a beacon of light in an area that has been dark for a very long time,” says Jarred Howard, principal of the project's developer.

  • Demolition has begun at the museum's site in Fort Worth's Historic Southside neighborhood, with plans to break ground for the museum later this year. At a media event Saturday, the museum's new executive strategist, Dr. Lauren Cross (seen above with Opal Lee), was introduced and new renderings of the museum were unveiled.

  • Bank of America has donated nearly $4 million to North Texas nonprofits this year, including local food banks and two 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder® awardees.

  • In this week’s roundup of hires, promotions, and accolades in North Texas, you’ll also find news from UTD's Center for Brainhealth, DART, Enseo, LiquidAgents/StaffDNA, Alpine Advanced Materials, Runway Growth Capital, Optic Gaming, Dallas Thrives, Downtown Dallas Inc., TechGenies, Kainos Capital, Texas Motor Speedway, and more.

  • Entrepreneurs and industry leaders benefit from the city's business-friendly approach.