December 03, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC—The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum announced today that the William Levine Family of Phoenix, Arizona, has committed $25 million, the largest gift in the institution’s history. The gift will advance Holocaust education throughout the United States and abroad, enabling the Museum to substantially expand and diversify its audiences, with special emphasis on youth. The Museum’s National Institute for Holocaust Education has been renamed the Levine Institute for Holocaust Education.
The Levine Institute is the world’s preeminent institution promoting quality Holocaust education, reaching approximately 15 million people worldwide each year. Through traveling exhibitions, multilingual educational resources and digital outreach, public programs, campus outreach, and training for educators and leaders, the Levine Institute ensures that the history and lessons of the Holocaust remain relevant to new generations, stimulating critical thinking and responsible civic engagement. As part of our nation’s official memorial to the Holocaust, the Levine Institute’s educational programs reach students, teachers, and the general public as well as leaders in the American military, judiciary, law enforcement, and government.
With technology and globalization rapidly changing the nature of teaching and learning, this exceptional gift will assure the long-term viability of the Institute’s signature educational programs and significantly enhance the Museum’s ability to shape Holocaust education in the 21st century, promoting best practices in classroom instruction as well as the most advanced forms of digital education. Working with a variety of partners and utilizing a range of approaches, the Levine Institute strives to ensure broad-based knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust, how and why it happened, and was allowed to happen.
“The Holocaust is receding in time and yet its lessons have never been more relevant and urgent than they are today as we witness rising antisemitism, hatred, and extremism. Complacency is not an option, and thanks to Bill Levine’s leadership and generosity, we can tackle the future with a very ambitious vision of reaching a global audience,” said Museum Director Sara Bloomfield. “This is not only a gift to the Museum. It is a gift to the future and the new generations that will benefit from the timeless lessons the Levine Institute will teach.”
“I have distinct memories of when I first learned about the Holocaust as a young student at the Yeshiva of Flatbush during World War II. It was hard to believe what was happening to the Jews of Europe. Even today it seems unthinkable, and that’s why education is so important. When the survivors and eyewitnesses are gone, it will become even more important,” said Bill Levine. “It’s an honor to support the Museum in this way—an incredible institution in a class by itself.”
A longtime Museum leader, Levine has served the institution in several capacities. In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed him to the Museum’s presidentially-appointed governing Council. In that capacity he also served as a member of the Executive Committee and chairman of the Finance Committee. Currently he is a co-chair of the National Campaign Committee and a member of the Academic Committee.
Levine is an investor and developer of real estate. Previously he was a founder of Outdoor Systems, an outdoor advertising firm. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and New York University and has a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.
Levine’s involvement with the Museum began with his support of scholarly research. “When I created the Ina Levine Scholar, my goal was to ensure that leading academics would take advantage of the Museum’s incomparable archives to produce exciting new scholarship as the foundation for teaching new generations. This new gift brings that vision full circle,” said Levine.
“This is about much more than a very exceptional financial gift,” explained Bloomfield. “In Bill Levine we have a true partner who is passionate about the Museum and about Holocaust education and sees the vital role it can and must play in a constantly changing world.”
The Levine Family gift is part of the Museum’s $540 million campaign, led by Honorary Chair Elie Wiesel, that will enable the Museum to make critical investments to keep Holocaust memory alive as a relevant, transformative force in the 21st century. The campaign will create a stronger endowment, increased annual fund, and build a new collections and conservation center.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit ushmm.org.
Content from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Originally published at https://www.ushmm.org/information/press/press-releases/museum-announces-25-million-gift
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24