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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: New Board Chairman

May 07, 2024 09:15AM ● By Donna Walker

IAAM Names Grady L. Crosby As Board Chair 

The International African American Museum (IAAM) board elected Grady L. Crosby as its new board chair, succeeding Wilbur E. Johnson. 


Johnson is a founding board member of IAAM and served as board chair for 12 years following the term of U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn, D-South Carolina.


Crosby’s election comes just months after the museum was named one of the Top Ten Best New Museums in the nation.


Since its opening in June 2023, the IAAM in Charleston, South Carolina, has welcomed more than 135,000 visitors.


“Grady's staunch commitment to the mission and values of IAAM began long before he joined the board almost six years ago,” said Tonya Matthews, Ph.D., CEO of the museum.


Matthews added, “His wealth of non-profit board experience and passion for what we do will provide inspiring leadership for the museum and its board as we move forward into this next generation of the IAAM journey.”


Crosby will continue the work done by Johnson, who in partnership with former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley shepherded the museum through crucial formative years. 


During Johnson’s tenure as board chair, the museum experienced record fundraising and completed a multi-million-dollar construction project to give Charleston a fully functional operating museum of international significance.


“I’m honored to have been elected as chair during this exciting period of growth and operational maturity for the IAAM," Crosby said. "Charleston is now home to one of the world’s most significant cultural institutions chronicling the African diaspora, and I look forward to building upon the foundation created by so many in this community who envisioned the success of this project."


Crosby added, "We have a dynamic group of board directors who are committed to creating an environment within the IAAM where all can learn, be inspired, and build bridges to generations of people who were unable to tell their story.” 


Crosby, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., received his bachelor's degree in political science and business administration from Howard University and his Juris Doctorate degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. 


He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he serves as vice-president, chief sustainability and impact officer for Northwestern Mutual. 


He serves on the boards of Marcus Performing Arts Center, Visit Milwaukee, Wisconsin Policy Forum, and the Wisconsin Center District.


The International African American Museum explores the history, culture, and impact of the African American journey on Charleston, the nation, and the world, shining light and sharing stories of the diverse journeys, origin, and achievements of descendants of the African Diaspora.


Across 11 galleries and a memorial garden with art, objects, artifacts, and multi-media interaction, IAAM is a champion of authentic, empathetic storytelling of American history. 


Officials said the museum will stand as one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism as it evolves today. 


The mission of IAAM is to honor the untold stories of the African American journey at the historically sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf and beyond.


For more information, go to

Morgan Stanley Private Credit Leads Strategic Growth Capital Investment In Guardian Dentistry Partners

Morgan Stanley Private Credit (MSPC) said several of its investment funds have led a growth capital investment into Guardian Dentistry Partners.


Prudential Private Capital also participated in the transaction.


GDP is a dental partnership network founded in 2018 by a group of dentists with the goal of providing support services and growth opportunities for its dentist partners. GDP has grown to over 160 locations operating across 11 states, including South Carolina.


Led by a team of operational leaders and doctor partners, GDP’s alignment structure allows doctors to retain autonomy in their practices while also rolling over equity into the non-clinical management company.


Since 2018, Guardian has expanded rapidly and now supports dental partners in Alabama, D.C., Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. 


Last year, the Miami-based organization announced its inclusion in the prestigious Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. GDP ranked No. 305.

Middleton Place Names New President And CEO

Middleton Place Foundation announced Dana Hand Evans has been selected as the organization’s next president and CEO.


Evans has extensive experience in historic preservation, public history, and museum management. Identified through a nationwide executive search, Evans will begin in August 2024. 


In making the announcement, Chairman Mike Laughlin cited the board of trustees’ enthusiastic endorsement of Dana as the Foundation’s next leader. "Dana brings a wealth of knowledge, vision, and a career-long commitment to historic preservation and public history," Laughlin said. "We're thrilled she will lead Middleton Place Foundation into its next chapter." 


Charles Duell, founder of Middleton Place Foundation, echoes the enthusiasm for the organization’s new CEO.


“Dana brings new zest to the Foundation's mission of preservation, research, and education,"  Duell said, “and we are excited to see Middleton Place, a national treasure, reach new heights under her leadership." 


Evans is joining Middleton Place at a notable time in its history. This year Middleton Place kicked off a year-long celebration to commemorate the Foundation's 50th anniversary and celebrate its long standing commitment to inspiring positive change through an understanding of American history.


Moreover, the completion of a forward-thinking master plan by the renowned landscape architect Thomas Woltz has provided a visionary roadmap to move Middleton Place into the future. 


"It is an honor to serve Middleton Place Foundation as its next President and CEO," Evans said, “and I look forward to working with its talented staff and dedicated Board to build on past successes and forge new ones going forward."


Evans for 14 years was executive director and CEO of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) in Winchester, Virginia, a year-round regional history complex encompassing three historic houses, eight acres of formal gardens, 200 acres of working farm, a 50,000 square-foot history museum and administrative center designed by architect Michael Graves, and Virginia’s largest art park, with 85 acres of hiking, walking, and art trail.


Working with a board, staff, donors, and community partners, over her tenure at the MSV Evans created a new vision, mission, and brand for the MSV and then developed and implemented five-year strategic and 10-year master plans.


Today, the MSV greets more than 200,000 visitors annually, has a membership of 4,200 households, and is a transformative gathering place for shared ideas that officials say has enriched the local and regional  community. 


Earlier in her career Evans was director and curator of Wilton House Museum of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia and then executive director of both, located in Richmond, Virginia.


Before that, she served on staff at Agecroft Hall and Gardens and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, both in Richmond. 


Evans earned a bachelor’s degree in art history, painting and printmaking from La Salle University, Philadelphia; and a master’s degree in art history, historical studies, and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).


She is a certified fund-raising executive in the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and, in the  museum field, a Fellow of the Museum Leadership Institute of Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University, California.


Educational training has included study abroad at Lorenzo de Medici Academy of Arts, Florence, Italy.  


Her consultations have included adjunct instructor at Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia, and accreditation peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.  


Located on the Ashley River in Charleston, South Carolina, Middleton Place National Historic Landmark has a history spanning three centuries of one family — with one member a signer of the Declaration of Independence — and including the essential stories and contributions of over 3,200 enslaved people who lived and labored on Middleton properties. 


Today, Middleton Place encompasses 110 acres and includes America's oldest landscaped gardens, a house museum, stable yards, and Eliza's House, an African American freedman’s dwelling.


The site also includes a restaurant, retail shops, and the Inn at Middleton Place.


More than 100,000 people yearly visit Middleton Place, where interpretive guides, artisan craftspeople, and educators offer authentic experiences that encourage people to deepen and broaden their perspectives through an exploration of American history. 


In 1974, Charles H. P. Duell founded Middleton Place Foundation to safeguard the legacy of the  Middleton Place National Historic Landmark. The Foundation, a public 501(c)3 non-profit educational trust, seeks to connect people with the past to inspire a better future through a deeper understanding of American history.


In fulfillment of this mission, the Foundation preserves and operates Middleton National Historic Landmark and the historic Edmondston-Alston House, located on the harbor in  Charleston’s historic High Battery.


The Foundation also sponsors the Middleton Scholars Education Assistance Fund, which awards higher education scholarships to benefit the Middleton Place African American descendant community.  


In 2022, Middleton Place Foundation staff and board of trustees engaged landscape architect Thomas Woltz and his team at Nelson Byrd Woltz to work on a comprehensive landscape plan for Middleton Place Foundation.


The plan, funded by Orville Gordon Browne Foundation Inc., in honor of  Christopher H. Browne, and the Bessent-Freeman Family Foundation, will provide a roadmap for Middleton Place for the next 50 years. 

Let’s Talk About Spam Texts, Emails

Another day, another round of spam texts and emails trying to sell you things.


At best, spam is annoying. At worst, it’s pushing scams or trying to install malware on your device. If you’re tired of getting spam, the Federal Trade Commission offers some ways to help.


When scammers send spammy messages that seem legit (but aren’t), they’re often trying to trick you into clicking links and giving them personal or financial information.


Things like your passwords or bank account and Social Security numbers are valuable to scammers.


With that access to your accounts, scammers could try to steal your money or your identity. Or both.


To help you cut down on spam and avoid scams, the FTC says:


Use filters. Your mobile phone probably has options to filter and block texts from unknown senders. Some wireless providers and call blocking apps can also help block unwanted messages. Many popular email providers (like Gmail) have strong spam filters turned on by default. But if any spam gets into your inbox, mark it as spam or junk.


Protect your personal information. Before you enter personal information on a website, email, or text chain, stop. Ask yourself: Why do they need this information? And what’s going to happen to it? Remember, too: never share your Social Security number with someone who reaches out to you.   


Unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Getting fewer unwanted emails helps you avoid clicking on links that can lead to a phishing attack.


Report unwanted messages. Unwanted messages often lead to scams. Report them. Use your phone’s “report junk” option or forward unwanted texts to 7726 (SPAM) and unwanted emails to your email provider.


Learn more about how to get fewer spam texts and emails.


If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at

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