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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A woman who started out as a grill worker and now owns multiple restaurants is pledging $500,000 for the International African American Museum that’s being developed in Charleston.

The museum announced Carolyn Hunter’s gift Thursday. Officials hope to break ground next summer on the project, which is expected to cost $75 million.

Hunter is president of C&A Unlimited Inc., which owns McDonald’s restaurants in Ladson and Summerville. She started her career as a McDonald’s grill worker after graduating from a community college in 1977.

Museum CEO Michael Boulware said Hunter’s story exemplifies the American dream.

Hunter established a scholarship fund at Trident Technical College and serves on the boards of Trident Technical College Foundation, Charleston Southern University, Trident United Way and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charleston.