Motown Founder Berry Gordy's $4 Million Donation to the Motown Museum Expansion Will Help Boost Detroit's Economy

Motown Founder Berry Gordy's $4 Million Donation to the Motown Museum Expansion Will Help Boost Detroit's Economy

The Motown Museum expansion campaign in Detroit has another reason to celebrate. Museum officials announced today that Motown music pioneer Berry Gordy will donate $4 million to the project.  Gordy’s latest contribution adds to other donations as well, from institutions and organizations across the country including Ford Motor Company and UAW-Ford, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and many others.  The money will help fund a targeted $50 million, 50,000 square-foot complex at the Hitsville, U.S.A. site on West Grand Boulevard, home of Motown’s original headquarters.

Motown Museum, West Grand Boulveard Conceptual Rendering.

Motown Museum, West Grand Boulveard Conceptual Rendering.

Motown Museum Chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry says Berry Gordy’s  is the single largest individual donation to the project. “There would be no Motown legacy, Motown Sound or Motown Museum without Berry Gordy. He has given the world a soundtrack to live by; Detroit – a legacy of pride; and our youth an example of entrepreneurial and creative excellence.”

Motown music pioneer, Berry Gordy. Courtesy of The Billboard Awards.

Motown music pioneer, Berry Gordy. Photo Courtesy: The Billboard Awards.

Berry Gordy and Motown recording artist Marvin Gaye. (Circa 1960)

Berry Gordy and Motown recording artist Marvin Gaye. (Circa 1960)

Announced in late 2016, the Motown Museum pledged to renovate and upgrade the existing museum to a 50,000 square-foot world-class entertainment and education destination featuring interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, and an expanded retail experience.   When completed, the new museum campus will have a transformative impact on the surrounding Detroit neighborhoods, providing employment and community pride that will generate new investment and tourism in the historic area.

“I’m excited about the future of Motown Museum and happy to support it,” said Motown Founder, Berry Gordy. “Not only will the expanded museum entertain and tell the stories of talented and creative people who succeeded against all odds, but it will also inspire and create opportunity for people to explore their dreams the way I did mine. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that.

Motown Founder Berry Gordy at Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit. Photo Courtesy of Motown Records 1964.

Motown Founder Berry Gordy at Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit. Photo Courtesy: Motown Records 1964.

Mr. Gordy is part of the historical Motown Records empire located in Detroit, Michigan.  In 1959, with an $800 loan from his parent’s business,  Gordy set out in Detroit to create music groups and solo artists.  He formed an independent record company known as Hitsville,  that became a style unto itself,  producing hundreds of  soulful hit songs through the sixties, seventies and eighties, earning the title The Sound of Young America.

Terry says Gordy’s gift further augments his other contributions over the years. “Now with this transformative and generous gift to the expansion campaign, Berry Gordy advances our vision of making the expanded museum a world class entertainment and educational destination that will ensure the inspiration of Motown for generations to come.”

Motown is celebrating their 60th anniversary with a three day celebration that benefits the Motown Museums expansion.  From September 21 through the 23rd,  Detroit will host a star studded event starting with a free gospel concert on Friday, a Hitsville Honors Award and Tribute on Saturday and a celebrity golf classic on Sunday.  For ticket  information contact 313.875.2264 or visit motownmuseum.org.

About the Author:  Don Howze is an Emmy Award Winning Film/Tape Editor and Associate Professor of Journalism who has taught at numerous colleges including Kennedy-King College of Chicago, UCLA Extension Journalism Department and Columbia College Chicago.  Don’s Emmy nominated documentary A Star For Marvin Gaye will premiere this fall on Amazon Prime Video.

 

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  • I may be stating the obvious, but I hope the "retail" portion of the museum will include issues of the Motown records for sale. Music fans would come to a place like this from all over the world, and I'd think the best souvenir would be one of their history-making records. Even if it's in reissued vinyl or CD form. Still better than pointing the visitor to a Spotify list or a download code.

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