Fund to help historic black churches receives $20 million donation

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A fund aimed at helping and preserving historic black churches received a huge donation this week, according to BNC News.

Lilly Endowment Inc. has donated $20 million to the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, which will go to the Preserving Black Churches project, according to an announcement by the National Trust For Historic Preservation on Dr. Martin Luther King Day ( January 17).

St. James AME Church will receive $100,000 in funding after it was decimated by a deadly tornado in Mayfield, Kentucky last month, reporters said. Since the church has less than 20 active members, most of whom are older, they need all the help they can get, according to the Reverend. Ralph Johnson.

“Historically, black churches deserve the same admiration and stewardship as the National Cathedral in Washington or Trinity Church in New York,” he said. BNC News. Johnson is the former president of the church district that includes the congregation of St. James AME, the reporters noted.

Historically, black churches were havens for black Americans since the end of the Civil War, from school and spirituality to social gatherings and activism. Those with active congregations are given priority, but churches used for housing or treatment programs can also get funding.

The Action Fund not only helps churches repair buildings, but it aims to help more than 50 black churches across the country with things like asset management and recording their history, according to Brent Leggs, the executive director of the fund.

Since its inception, the Action Fund has raised over $70 million and supported more than 200 preservation projects across the country. Journalists say the fund calls itself “the greatest attempt ever to preserve sites related to African-American history.”

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