CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) - Carolyn Hunter's $500,000 leadership investment in the International African American Museum (IAAM) is one of the largest pledges from an individual to date, moving the museum closer to reaching its fundraising goal and allowing it to break ground late spring or early summer 2018.
Hunter, who was born in Virginia, started her career at a McDonald's grill after graduating from community college in 1977. Her unmatched work ethic, grit and long-term vision propelled her up the professional ladder. Years later, she relocated to South Carolina, where she purchased a store in Moncks Corner. From there, she ascended to a successful entrepreneur, who owns three franchises in Ladson, Moncks Corner and Summerville and serves as president of C&A Unlimited, Inc.
"Carolyn Hunter's story is the definition of the American Dream," said Michael Boulware Moore, president and CEO of the IAAM. "She embodies one of my favorite sayings, 'I am my ancestor's wildest dreams.'"
As part of its efforts to celebrate African American history, the IAAM will highlight leaders, visionaries and changemakers who left indelible marks on America's history, traditions and culture. It will show children of color that there are countless heroes who look just like them.
"We are extraordinarily blessed to have the opportunity to build this museum where everyone can come to learn more of our rich history and many little-known African-American success stories," said Carolyn Hunter.
"Carolyn has become one of our community's great leaders," said Joseph P. Riley, Jr., IAAM board member and former Charleston mayor. "She has made transformative investments in institutions like Trident Tech, where she established the Rachel Hunter Thompson Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of her mother. She also gives back to Charleston by serving on the boards of Trident Technical College Foundation, Charleston Southern University Board of Visitors, Trident United Way, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charleston. It is an honor to be counted among the organizations that Carolyn supports."