Over a decade ago, the Ray Charles Foundation had donated $3 million for the establishment of a performing arts center on the campus of historically Black Albany State University in Georgia. The famed singer was a native of Albany.
But apparently the university had not been able to raise sufficient additional funds to build the center. So the foundation asked the Georgia attorney general to seek his assistance in returning the donated funds. The university has now agreed to return the donation.
David Brokaw, a spokesman for the Ray Charles Foundation told the Albany Herald, “The funds were granted solely to help build a performing arts center, The Ray Charles Fine Arts Building, housing a theater to be named in honor of the singer’s mother, Retha Robinson. Since no effort was made to build the facility and years of promises produced no outcome, the Foundation contacted the Georgia Attorney General. It is incomprehensible that ASU failed to use the money in the manner Mr. Charles specified.”
Albany State President Everette J. Freeman issued a statement which read, “The return of funds donated by the late Ray Charles brings to a close negotiations with the Ray Charles Foundation. A new fine arts building remains one of the university’s greatest needs which we hope will be completed as soon as possible. ASU will continue with plans to build the educational facility and remains focused on increasing student scholarships and development.”