NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Dec. 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has awarded the first One Community Transformational Grant to the Fort Monroe Foundation.

The $300,000 grant, which highlights Newport News’ commitment to diversity and inclusion in the community, will provide funding over the next three years for the creation of the National Center for Freedom, a new public resource to explore the historic struggles for freedom.

The aim of the One Community Transformational Grant, which launched earlier this year, is to support projects that make a difference in Hampton Roads, further deepening Newport News’ ties within the community.

The planned National Center for Freedom will be a community resource that incorporates the history of slavery to emancipation to inspire a larger dialogue around diversity and inclusion, one of the core areas of focus for the grant program, said Susan Jacobs, Newport News’ vice president of human resources and administration.

“Fort Monroe is a historic landmark that plays a distinctive role in the development of our country and the Hampton Roads community,” Jacobs said. “We are proud to support the partnership that will help make the National Center for Freedom a jewel in our community.”

The National Center for Freedom will provide programming, enrichment opportunities and community conversations for local, regional and national audiences. The center is being developed by the Fort Monroe Authority and the National Park Service in partnership with many civic, cultural and educational entities.

The National Center for Freedom will be launched as part of the 400-year commemoration of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans. Throughout the 2019 commemoration year, Fort Monroe plans to host a number of programs focused on diversity and inclusion, including a lecture series, cultural events, exhibits, community conversations, research, and student/teacher programs.

“This will be a compelling partnership between Fort Monroe, the National Park Service and Newport News Shipbuilding,” said Terry E. Brown, superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument. “This grant will benefit us all as we build the pathways to greater equality, inclusion and tolerance in our communities.”

Glenn Oder, executive director of the Fort Monroe Authority, said, “Fort Monroe is in a unique position to lead in providing the context, resources and strategies toward positive dialogue for the good of the region. The National Center for Freedom prompts Hampton Roads to be a shining light on one of the most challenging chapters in American history.”

Proclaimed a NPS National Monument by President Barack Obama in 2011, Fort Monroe is a richly diverse destination site, located strategically in Hampton, Virginia. For at least 400 years, the point of land known as Old Point Comfort that now includes Fort Monroe has served as the key defensive site at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and has influenced significant aspects of our nation’s history. Like other major entities, a private 501(c)(3) foundation provides auxiliary philanthropic support—the Fort Monroe Foundation.

About Huntington Ingalls Industries

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division provides a wide range of professional services through its Fleet Support, Mission Driven Innovative Solutions, Nuclear & Environmental, and Oil & Gas groups. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 40,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit: