The Holocaust Museum LAMonday saw the institution announce that it received a $5 million gift by The Smidt Foundation. This will help move it closer to its goal to break ground on a campus extension this summer.
Beth Kean (the museum’s chief executive officers) stated that the expansion will allow the museum to expand to twice its existing area in Pan Pacific Park. This will increase the museum’s visitor capacity, provide educational programs for more students, and include new technology to preserve and present testimony of Holocaust survivors.
“Trees are considered symbols of life and hope across cultures and faiths, and in many ways our museum is a tree of life within our community, rooted in Holocaust survivor stories of courage and resilience,”Kean made the statement in a statement. “Visitors — especially students facing their own extraordinary and unique circumstances — learn critical lessons from the past, share mutual hope for the future, and grow empowered to recognize and confront antisemitism, racism and hatred.”
The museum reports that the Anti-Defamation League has just released a report which cites a 34% increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the country in 2021. There was also a significant rise in anti-Semitic violence in 20 U.S. towns, including Los Angeles.
Kean explained that the Smidt Foundation gift represents the largest donation to the museum ever made by a family or foundation with no familial ties to Holocaust survivors or those who founded the museum over 60-years ago.
The gift will be used by the museum as a challenge grant, to encourage more donors — especially the next generation of donors — to carry on the legacy and courage left behind by the institute’s founder survivors.
Through the “Tree of Life Challenge,”The Smidt Foundation will match every gift 2:1, effectively tripling its impact.
Susan and Eric Smidt founded the Smidt Foundation to support humanitarian and civil justice organizations.
“We believe deeply that it is our responsibility to ensure that future generations learn the lessons of the Holocaust and, in particular, the danger of silence in the face of hate,”Eric Smidt, Harbor Freight Tools’ chief executive officer and co-owner.
Susan Smidt said that the gift was appreciated by all. “is about taking a stand against hatred, racism, antisemitism and bigotry. Holocaust Museum LA will help teach Angelenos how to do that for generations to come.”