Lappin Foundation is one of 140 nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program. Lappin Foundation was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process. The organization will receive $100,000 over five years for its Holocaust Symposium for Teens.
Lappin Foundation serves as an educational resource center to schools and communities for programs about the Holocaust and Jewish culture and history. Receiving the grant underscores the importance of Holocaust education for high school and middle school students. An alarming increase in antisemitic incidents in schools and diminishing knowledge about the Holocaust amongst the younger generation make Holocaust education more important than ever.
The grant will enable Lappin Foundation to increase the number of schools that offer the Holocaust Symposium by training more educators and facilitators to deliver it. Through the use of primary sources, including curated materials consisting of films, Holocaust survivor testimonials, biographies and more, the Holocaust Symposium for Teens educates students about the dangers of hate when it goes unchecked and prepares them to respond when antisemitic and other hateful incidents occur in their schools and communities. As we stand at the threshold of a time when survivors will no longer be the messengers of the lessons of the Holocaust, we have a moral responsibility to prepare the younger generation to carry the lessons forward.
The Holocaust Symposium for Teens was created in 2021 in response to antisemitic play calls, including the word “Auschwitz,” used by the Duxbury High School varsity football team. Since then, seven public and private high schools hosted the symposium with more than 420 students, faculty and community members participating. Six of the seven schools that hosted a symposium experienced antisemitism, with the appearance of swastika graffiti and derogatory comments about the Holocaust and Jewish people.
The response from students and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive. A senior at Duxbury High School wrote: “I can no longer sit idly by in silence and let antisemitism continue. I have become the teacher and can use my status as a student leader in my school to share what I have learned.” Dr. Ryan Plosker, executive director and founder of New England Academy in Beverly, believes every school should participate in the symposium: “Our students and staff were amazed by the content, presentation and real-life examples provided. Every student needs to learn about, understand and remember this historical event with the goal of ensuring it never happens again.”
The Cummings $25 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties. With the help of about 90 volunteers, the Foundation first identified 140 organizations to receive grants of at least $100,000 each.
The complete list of 140 grant winners, plus more than 900 previous recipients, is available here. Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $375 million to Greater Boston nonprofits.
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