Ray Charles had a vision to find, educate and inspire the next generation of music pioneers. The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center will enable Morehouse to train these students and provide a venue for showcasing their talent. Morehouse is proud to move Ray Charles’ vision to reality.
The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center would not be possible without the continued support of foundations and corporations and the generous gifts of many individuals.
Eugene M. Mitchell
Eugene M. Mitchell bucked his family’s tradition when he moved away from the deep South chronicled by his aunt, "Gone With the Wind" author Margaret Mitchell, to become an economist instead of a lawyer.
But he remained dedicated to his aunt’s quiet, yet passionate concern for students at More- house College, an institution to which she had secretly sent money to help students for years.
Former president Benjamin E. Mays had written a letter to Margaret Mitchell, asking for money for student scholarships. She initially sent $80. The two continued to exchange letters for years and Mitchell continued sending increasing amounts of money for undergraduates and Morehouse Men who would become doctors and dentists in Atlanta.
Her only stipulations: that her donations remained a secret and that students were chosen on the basis of character, good will toward their fellow man and willingness to work.
Upon her death, Eugene Mitchell and his brother, Joseph, inherited her estate. Eugene Mitchell continued in his aunt’s philanthropic footsteps in support of Morehouse College.
In 2002, he gave the College $1.5 million to endow the dean’s chair for the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences. The chair was aptly named for Margaret Mitchell Marsh. In 2007, Mitchell gifted $1 million for The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center. The Center's Performance Lawn is named in his honor.
Emma and Joe Adams
As major individual donors to The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, Emma and Joe Adams have demonstrated their commitment to the mission of the College. Not only have they supported the facility financially with a $500,000 gift, they also are responsible for introducing Ray Charles to Morehouse and nurturing the relationship that yielded the vision for The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center. The facility’s concert hall is named after the couple.
Yet, this is only the most recent show of support from a couple who have already substantially contributed to building a lasting legacy at Morehouse. In 1995, the Emma and Joe Adams Public Service Institute (EJAPSI) was established with gifts from the Emma and Joe Adams Foundation to support students who balance academic excellence with a commitment to community service.
In 1998, the foundation also contributed toward the construction of the Leadership Center building, which houses EJAPSI.
During the 2005 Key Supporters Reception, Emma and Joe were inducted into the prestigious Leadership Circle.
"My wife and I never had children, but if we had, we would have wanted our sons to be Morehouse Men," said Joe Adams. "We look at each one of these students as our own."
David Geffen, an Americanfilm producer, theatrical producer and philanthropist, is noted for creating Asylum Records in 1970 (which later became Elektra/Asylum Records), and Geffen Records in 1980, along with his later role as founder of DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and Jerry Katzenberg in 1994. DreamWorks is now one of the leading producers of live-action motion pictures, animated feature films and music entertainment.
Geffen has developed a reputation as a prominent philanthropist for his publicized support of medical research, AIDS organizations, the arts and theatre. Through the David Geffen Foundation, he also provides generous support to numerous worthwhile educational institutions and organizations, including the United Negro College Fund for need-based scholarships to minorities from Los Angeles.
In 2003, David Geffen donated $500,000 to Morehouse College to support arts programs and scholarships. The gift made it possible to establish the David Geffen Keyboard Digital Music Laboratory in the Music Academic Building. Geffen said when announcing the gift, "...My hope is that this gift will inspire others and provide significant opportunities and support for students who need financial assistance to attain their goals."
For more information on supporting Morehouse and The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, please contact Kathleen Johnson, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Special Assistant to the President at 404-215-2660.