Wells Fargo Grants $500,000 for Emanuel Nine Memorial

CHARLESTON, S.C. Oct. 2019 – Today, the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation Board announced Wells Fargo’s $500,000 grant to construct a permanent memorial honoring the Emanuel Nine, the nine clergy and church members murdered in 2015 at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 

“Wells Fargo is committed to honoring the victims, supporting their families and recognizing the efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion in Charleston and across the country,” said Wells Fargo Community Relations Senior Manager Juan Austin. “As we reflect on the meaning of this memorial, we join the City of Charleston in promoting unity and supporting our community to understand the most urgent problems and solutions that can have the most impact to help build strong, inclusive and vibrant communities.”

In July 2018, the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation revealed plans for the memorial to be located on the church grounds. The plans were designed by architect Michael Arad, who also created the National September 11 Memorial in New York City.

The memorial design features a courtyard with two fellowship benches facing each other with high backs that arc up and around like sheltering wings. At the center of the courtyard, the curves of the benches encircle a marble fountain where the names of the Emanuel Nine are carved around the fountain’s edge. Water emanates from a cross-shaped source, filling the basin and gently spilling over the names of the nine. The opening between the benches toward the back of the courtyard reveals a cross above a simple altar, providing visitors a quiet place to linger in thought and prayer. 

The memorial includes a survivors’ garden, which is accessed by a pathway from the courtyard. Dedicated to life and resiliency, the garden is surrounded by six stone benches and five trees, symbolizing the five survivors – the sixth bench signifying that the church is also a survivor.

Tax-deductible donations for the Emanuel Nine Memorial can be made online by visiting: https://www.new.emanuelnine.org/#donate.  

Editor’s Note: For high-resolution renderings of the Emanuel Nine Memorial, visit: http://bit.ly/2HibNGt.

About the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation Board

The Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation Board was established as an independent 501(c)(3) organization to support the mission of the Emanuel Nine Memorial. The Board manages the fundraising, construction, endowment, and outreach for the memorial.  

About Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church

The roots of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church run deep in Charleston and its history is one of perseverance in the face of racial hostility. The church is affectionately called Mother Emanuel because it is the oldest AME church south of Baltimore. The congregation first formed in 1791, a coalition of free blacks and slaves. In 1822, the church was burned to the ground, after plans for a slave revolt were exposed. The congregation rebuilt the church and met there until 1834 – when all-black churches were outlawed by the state legislature. Undeterred, members continued to meet in secret until the end of the Civil War in 1865, when they formally reorganized. They adopted the name ‘Emanuel,’ meaning “God with us.” At the time, the church was a wooden two-story structure, and it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1886. Once again, it was rebuilt. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, it was a destination for many of the leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church is a fixture in Charleston. With seating for 1,200, it has the largest capacity of any African-American church in Charleston. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  

Media Contact:

Lou Hammond Group

Kelsey Donnelly 


Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation Contact: 

Karen Bacot

843-277-3093 (o) / 843-609-7433 (c)


Wells Fargo Media Contact:

Amy Amirault