Motown Museum gets $3M grant from Ballmer Group

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The Motown Museum has received a $3 million gift from Ballmer Group to help further the Detroit landmark’s expansion. 

Co-founded by civic activists Steve and Connie Ballmer, the Ballmer Group is a philanthropic organization that works to help improve economic conditions for American families who are disproportionally likely to remain in poverty. The grant will go toward the Motown Museum’s goal of fundraising $50 million for the four-phase expansion. 

The Motown Museum is seen, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in Detroit. The building where Berry Gordy Jr. built his music empire reopened its doors to the public on Wednesday. It had been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the face of historic global challenges, we continue to see our community, supporters, and our Motown family come together in ways that are truly inspiring,” Motown Museum chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry said. “The momentum and support for the expansion has continued with visionary and committed leaders like Steve and Connie Ballmer voicing its significance. Their belief in the power of community and opportunity is a fitting tribute to the enduring spirit of Motown and we’re very fortunate for their generous gift.” 

Phase one of the expansion, “Hitsville Next,” broke ground in September and is described as the museum’s “educational and creative hub designed to offer innovative education and community engagement programs.”

The plan is for the museum to expand to a 50,000-square-foot entertainment and education tourist attraction with interactive exhibits, a theater, recording studios, retail and meeting spaces. 

“Motown represents the cultural lifeblood of the southeast Michigan region, as well as its legacy of incredible talent and entrepreneurship,” said Kylee Mitchell Wells, executive director of Ballmer Group – Southeast Michigan. “Much of the work we support at Ballmer Group is rooted in racial equity and helping kids and families succeed. The museum’s programming and their impressive forthcoming expansion reflect that mission. We’re inspired that the expansion will share the story of Motown on a larger scale and welcome new generations of fans, music lovers, budding artists and business leaders from Detroit and around the world.”

More:Motown Museum showcases $50M expansion design with video

More:Museum's Lyric Project connects budding songwriters to Motown legends

Twitter: @melodybaetens