Denzel Washington

*Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta hosted a fundraiser at their home on Saturday to help raise millions for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. President Barack Obama insisted early on in his presidency that all funds needed in order to complete the museum be raised before he exits The White House. According to Variety, Denzel and his wife took action, and invited an elite group to their home where they raised more than $17 million for the project.

“There is such a historical significance to this project. It means so much for our community, our country and to future generations,” Denzel told the publication.

In addition to the funds, TV queen Shonda Rhimes made a $10 million dollar pledge.

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During the event, Pauletta recounted a family trip to Israel a few years ago where they visited a Holocaust museum; she noted the resonating impact the experience had on the entire family.

“There was one room in the Holocaust museum that featured the clothes, shoes and other items of the children murdered there and it was very disturbing,’’ she recalled. “I asked my kids about it after we left and I could tell it haunted them too. But it also made them think about their own history and they asked me where was there a place that told our (African American) story. That hit me because I didn’t know at the time this museum was in the making.’’

Prior to the fundraising success, the federal government contributed $270 million to the historical project. In April, the museum raised more than $252 million dollars. Now that the goal has successfully been met, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture will open to the public on September 24.

And yes, President Obama will do the honors of cutting the ribbon.