NEW YORK CITY /PRNewswire/ — In September 2009, the Center for Jewish History, a not-for-profit cultural institution and the largest repository of Jewish history and experience outside of the state of Israel, was faced with rising debt service costs and the inability to meet increased financial demands. The Center was created ten years ago from the vision of Bruce Slovin, Center Chairman and Founder, who raised $100 million to bring together five esteemed historical organizations under one roof and to establish one of the greatest cultural and academic resources in the Jewish community.
In late 2009, Slovin approached the Center’s board and asked board members William Ackman and Joseph Steinberg to spearhead a bold effort to raise $30 million to pay off the debt. Today, the Center announced that its 10-year-old construction debt was fully retired with $30 million raised by Mr. Ackman, Mr. Steinberg, the Fairholme Foundation, and 19 other donors, freeing the organization to move forward with its culture and humanities agenda to preserve and present the history of the Jewish people.
“The Center for Jewish History has emerged from a difficult financial situation stronger than ever thanks to the donors who recognized the significance of this essential institution,” said Slovin. While cultural institutions across the country struggled to stay afloat during the recession and resorted to drastic measures in order to cover operating costs, the Center expanded its offerings, increased its hours and created new initiatives to support its mission.
“Today, the Center is internationally recognized as a model for not-for-profit collaboration. Since its founding, more than 15,000 donors worldwide have contributed more than $150 million to support the Center’s work,” said Michael S. Glickman, Chief Operating Officer of the Center. “Our goal for the future is to continue to expand the Center’s resources and reach, making it a focal point and a magnet for research, education, discussion, and artistic creation that informs and inspires the public in all aspects of the Jewish experience.”
The collections at the Center range from the early modern era in EuropeFranz Kafka, Theodor Herzl, Moses Mendelssohn, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and many more. and pre-colonial times in the Americas, to present-day materials from across the globe. The Center provides access to a comprehensive collection of historic archival materials.
During the next decade, the Center will continue to focus on long-term sustainability, while incorporating technology to help achieve its mission of expanded access. The Center plans to continue working with its partners to digitize aspects of their collections and build an even greater online portal to the materials it houses.
About the Center for Jewish History:
The Center for Jewish History is the nation’s leading repository for books, documents, photos, ritual objects, art, and other materials that detail Jewish life around the world and across the centuries, and is also a vital and vibrant focal point for the celebration of the Jewish experience. It is home to five major institutions: American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.