Holocaust Museum Surpasses Fundraising Goal, Now Aims For $1 Billion


The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is marking its 25th anniversary with a new – and bold – $1 billion fundraising goal.

The “Never Again: What You Do Matters” campaign set out five years ago to raise $540 million by the museum’s 25th anniversary. The campaign reached that goal 18 months ahead of schedule and has now brought in $715 million from 366,000 donors, officials said. The Washington museum announced Monday evening that it would increase its goal to $1 billion by 2023, its 30th year.

“We see that we have all this momentum that we really want to seize,” museum director Sara J. Bloomfield said. “We thought it was important to send a message to the survivor generation that we will secure” the museum.

The Holocaust Museum opened in 1993 as a living memorial intended to inspire visitors to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity. Just south of the National Mall, the museum has welcomed 43 million visitors, including 15 million students.

The fundraising goal is gutsy for an organization of the Holocaust Museum’s size and relative youth. Its operating expenses were $116 million in 2016, according to tax filings that reported a federal grant of $53 million. In comparison, the Smithsonian Institution, which completed a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign last year, reported its annual budget at about $1.3 billion, or 13 times that of the Holocaust Museum.

The new fundraising goal was announced at Monday’s 25th-anniversary tribute dinner, when the museum honored all survivors of the Holocaust with its highest honor, the Elie Wiesel Award. The award recognizes the survivors for their courage and resilience and for “inspiring the global movement for Holocaust remembrance and education.”

As time passes and the number of survivors dwindles, the museum must extend its reach to new supporters, said Allan Holt, vice chairman of the museum’s board. Holt is the son of Holocaust survivors Jenny and Irving Holt.

“We need to strive for relevance with a new generation,” said Holt, who noted that many survivors were among the museum’s earliest and most stalwart donors. “It’s important that the next generation continues to not only support the museum, but to carry its message.”

The final stage of the museum’s fundraising campaign will support efforts to build its collection and education programs and to expand its reach as a global authority on the study and prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities.

“When we opened in 1993, we saw ourselves as a national museum. But I don’t think we realized we could be a global institution,” Bloomfield said. “Today, the problems are global and our response has to be global.”

That work is underway. On Monday, the museum hosted its first Global Issues Forum, featuring three panel discussions on the psychology of extremism, the rise of neo-Nazism and the role of technology in extremist ideology.

Holt said the money raised during the last phase of the campaign would build on this work.

“Most people, even those who may have visited the museum once or who know about it, think of it strictly from the standpoint of memory and remembrance,” he said. “It is not only remembrance. It is education, prevention of genocide. There’s no shortage of work to be done to continue to carry the message.”

(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Peggy McGlone



  1. Junior world. I wonder when the unorthodox jew will have a sense he must have consideration for the eternal as well as his loss from the war. He forgets we have a covenant and we must keep our laws.

    Still, its sad. Bernie knew nothing about jews other than the camps were not a place he was going to take his intermarried bride.

    I question why there was so much antisemitism. I think it was the intermarriage and the jews who ate against lawful interest.

    So it is and so we must remember. But the best way to remember the holocaust is to make sure you know what a jew is. Its not the guy on the weekend with a bagel. Its the guy with gemara and Torah study. He never cuts his beard and he knows of others who are right to find our redemption.

    Else you are just holding onto the box cars and not our Torah.

    Its quaint but I think we are dealing with the people who still make it uncertain that the kosher jew can have a home.

    What holocaust did you say Never Again to?

    • I got a headache after the second paragraph. I’m sure you mean well, but could you translate yur missive into English, please?

      • Much to say. We are jews.

        Did you even read the Diary of Anne Frank? She was free to write. It did not last long. My missive is a well read life. Do you even know your headache is your poor connected mood?

        It pays to daven. Kings may begin to help.

  2. If the museum really cares, they would invest the money in authentic Jewish education. If there is no future, of what help is the past?


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