Maryland 'B' corp. formed to help site search for proposed gay heritage museum

Organizers of a proposed Washington, D.C., museum focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender heritage have formed a benefit limited liability corporation in Maryland that will work to find a museum site.

The Velvet Foundation, a nonprofit group that has been planning the museum and seeking a permanent home in D.C. since 2008, will be the beneficiary of the newly formed Oliver-Grayson Holding Co. Benefit LLC., organizers announced.


A Maryland law took effect in October 2010 allowing businesses to organize as "benefit corporations," hybrids of for-profit and nonprofit models that aim for public benefits as well as profits.

Plans call for either acquiring or building a facility, said Gavin/Solmonese LLC, a financial advisory firm that is advising the museum planners and will help raise capital.


Organizers hope to raise between $25 million and $40 million to buy a building, the Washington Business Journal reported Friday. Commercial real estate firm Studley Inc. will help with the property search.

"Being the beneficiary of the Benefit LLC will enable us to attract investors who are not only committed to the museum but who are interested in the bottom line," said Tim Gold, CEO of the Velvet Foundation, in a statement.

Maryland, the first state to authorize benefit corporations, is one of 12 states that have passed "B" corporation laws.

"It is vitally important to our community and to our country that the National LGBT Museum exists," Joe Solmonese, managing director and founding partner of Gavin/Solmonese, and former president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.