Holocaust Museum receives $5 million and community support

| June 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

Holocaust Museum LA has received a $5 million grant from The Smidt Foundation that will help to further the Museum’s expansion project that will double its size to 50,000 square feet.

THE SMIDT FOUNDATION’S founders are Susan and Eric Smidt.

Holocaust Museum LA is not the only institution in the area that the Smidts have supported. In 2016, Susan and Eric Smidt donated $25 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, helping to fund its new building, to open in 2023. (Eric Smidt is CEO and owner of Harbor Freight Tools.)

Robin Kramer, managing director of The Smidt Foundation (Harbor Freight Tools for Schools) and a Windor Square resident, stressed the importance of the Larchmont community in supporting the Holocaust Museum.

“We are neighbors of the museum, and it of us, and we ought to take great pride and be supportive of our neighbor,” Kramer said.

For years, the museum has continued to provide education and programming, giving local residents the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust and how to stand up to hatred and bigotry.

“The Smidt Foundation made this incredible gift, this important gift, not only out of a conviction that education and exposure is the best way to address hate and build humanity, but also because this museum was built by Holocaust survivors, it’s local and it has a really important place in the life of our whole community,” Kramer said.

Beth Kean, chief executive officer of the museum, explained that The Smidt Foundation’s donation has inspired others to give, helping the Museum near its goal for the expansion.

“I think when people see well-respected philanthropic leaders in the community make an investment in an and a project like this, it makes them want to get involved and be part of it; so that inspiration is leading to more gifts, and that’s how we’re getting closer to our goal,” Kean said.

NEW GALLERY, theater, classrooms and outdoor spaces will be built to the south of Holocaust Museum LA’s existing facilities.
Rendering courtesy of Holocaust Museum LA

Building Truth

Holocaust Museum LA, the oldest and first-ever survivor-founded Holocaust Museum in the United States, is currently working on its “Building Truth” expansion project, which is to be completed by 2024. The museum is hoping to break ground on the expansion by the end of 2022 and is 80% of the way towards its goal of raising $45 million. The Smidt Foundation has pledged to match gifts 2:1, up to $2.5 million, through the “Tree of Life Challenge.” The donation from The Smidt Foundation is the largest the Museum has ever received from a family or foundation that doesn’t have familial connections to the Holocaust or the founders of the Museum.

The expansion project will allow it to increase not only its physical footprint, but also its reach.

“We want to be looked at as leaders in Holocaust education, and we’re really building a world class institution to go along with that,” Kean said. “We want to be a huge asset in the community and be a safe space where people can come together for difficult conversations.”

The expansion in Pan Pacific Park will include a 2,500-square-foot gallery, outdoor spaces for reflection, a 200-seat theater, classrooms and a Boxcar Pavilion, in which a train boxcar that transported people to death camps will be displayed.

“The expansion is about the future, and the whole point is to make sure that survivors’ voices are being carried on for future generations,” Kean concluded.

By Abigail Kestenbaum

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Category: News

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