Local donor pledges $18 million to Holocaust center, ensuring its future

A local donor has pledged $18 million to the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, the center’s largest single gift ever.

The gift is being seen as a potential catalyst for more philanthropy for Jewish causes in one of the most active years ever for the Jewish culture in Greater Cincinnati.

“This gift comes at a time when the world needs HHC’s mission more than ever,” said Sarah L. Weiss, the center’s chief executive officer. “Sadly, we need not look any further than our daily newspaper to know that the future of humanity is at a crossroads. To meet the moment, HHC is committed to creating a community of upstanders based on the lessons of the Holocaust. We are profoundly grateful to the donors’ commitment to our mission and their call-to-action to gain broader support from the community for our work. This is a crucial time. Every person, every dollar brings us one step closer to building the community we want our children to inherit.”

Sarah Weiss, executive director of the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center
Sarah Weiss, executive director of the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center

The 22-year-old center, which moved to the Cincinnati Museum Center in 2019, is the only U.S. Holocaust museum with a direct connection to its location. A majority of the 1,000 Holocaust survivors who came to Cincinnati arrived by train at Union Terminal. Since its move to Union Terminal, the center has engaged more than half a million individuals through in-person museum visits and events and more than 2 million through digital programming and virtual experiences.

“This anonymous donor is setting the example for how to create a lasting legacy of giving in Cincinnati, by ensuring the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center will continue their essential work for generations to come,” said Jewish Federation of Cincinnati CEO Danielle V. Minson.

Danielle Minson
Danielle Minson

Four years ago, the Jewish Federation partnered with the Holocaust & Humanity Center for the initial capital campaign and helped raise over $16 million for the move and expansion to the Union Terminal. While the donor wishes to remain anonymous, they have expressed that the greatest hope is that this gift will be a catalyst to inspire others. 

“A rising tide raises all,” said Minson. “A culture of legacy lifts up our community and makes us stronger. That is really the core of what we are doing as a Federation, through programs like Create Your Jewish Legacy, which trains and supports our Jewish agencies, congregations, and day schools in legacy giving, to ensure the future of Cincinnati’s Jewish community. Much like what this donor is doing now, our goal is for every local Jewish organization to have a significant endowment, allowing them to continue their important missions, and to serve our community with vital programming and services.”

Its largest gift prior to the one announced April 13, a $5 million gift from Nancy and David Wolf made the move to the Museum Center possible.

The center will use the $18 million gift to accelerate programming and support its endowment, ensuring sustainability for the organization’s future. The gift will enable the institution to maintain and grow the museum and expand offerings to include more family and youth leadership programming, in addition to fostering greater reach. 

Since September, some 50 exhibitions, programs, concerts and festivals have made the last year one of the most significant in celebrating the Jewish Cincinnati Bicentennial.

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