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American Family commits $2.5 million to The Center for Black Excellence and Culture


American Family Insurance and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation announced Thursday a $2.5 million investment in The Center for Black Excellence and Culture, which is planned to open on Madison’s south side in 2023.

The Center for Black Excellence and Culture is the vision of its founder and CEO Dr. Alex Gee, pastor of Fountain of Life Church, founder/CEO of the nonprofit Nehemiah Center of Urban Leadership, and host of the podcast “Black Like Me.”

“American Family is proud to join Dr. Gee and many partners in the creation of The Center to honor, learn from and celebrate the Black community and its achievements, rich history and culture,” said Bill Westrate, American Family chief executive officer, in a statement. “This is an important project for our community and our state, and we’re excited to be part of bringing it to life.”

Dr. Alex Gee

Boldly built by Black minds, hearts, and hands, The Center is a community-wide effort to bring together a collective Black brilliance to affirm, inspire and advance the Black community in Madison and beyond, according to its mission. The Center will be a three-level, 65,000-square-foot destination and will focus on the areas of health and wellness, leadership and innovation, performing and arts visuals, and youth and families.

“With this inspiring gift, American Family Insurance is investing in a historic Black-led, Black-designed cultural and innovation strategy that will empower our community to thrive like never before,” said Dr. Gee in a statement. “Madison’s Black community understands the far-reaching benefits of space like The Center to affirm, inspire and advance our collective Black excellence. Corporate gifts like American Family Insurance’s communicate that the larger community recognizes the tremendous economic benefit that a Black cultural home means for the entire community and region.”