Lauren Embrey Honored At Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center For Education And Tolerance’s 2017 Hope For Humanity Dinner

A crowd of 970 gathered at the Fairmont Hotel on Tuesday, October 24, for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center For Education and Tolerance‘s 2017 Hope For Humanity dinner. The guests, including Lynn and Allan McBee, Bobby Lyle, Thear Suzuki, Frank Risch, and Carol and Don Glendenning, were there to celebrate the evening’s honoree, philanthropist Lauren Embrey. But they were also there to raise some money, revel in the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum (it broke ground in October), and enjoy a wonderful kosher meal.

The dinner—Lolla Rosa and Frisee Salad, Seared Scottish Salmon, and Lemon-scented Kosher Cheesecake—had everyone in a convivial mood, especially after the gracious welcome by event Co-chairs Sarah Losinger and Trea C. Yip. Sarah and Trea pointed out that the new museum— which will take the facility’s square footage from 6,000 square feet to nearly nine times that, and more than double the number of annual visitors, to 200,000—will help the nonprofit impact attitudes in a positive way and change behaviors through education. The new museum is scheduled to open in 2019.

Florence Shapiro, the group’s board chair, gave a brief talk, suggesting that “there must never be a time that we fail to fight injustice”—to thunderous applause. Flo gave way to Mary Pat Higgins, the nonprofit’s president and CEO, who preceded a nicely produced video tribute to Lauren. In it, Larry James noted how Embrey has “grappled with her privilege,” and Dr. Rick Halperin said, “If there was something called human cloning, she should be cloned.”

Then it was time to present the 2017 Hope for Humanity Award to Lauren, a nationally known philanthropist and advocate for gender and racial equality. The President and Philanthropic Visionary of the Embrey Family Foundation, Embrey put belief into action in 2006 when she and her sister, Gayle, founded the Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University. It offers the only bachelor’s degree in human rights education in the South. The evening’s honoree also supports organizations with people-centered missions, as well as a variety of artistic projects tackling social injustices that often go unnoticed or undiscussed. Summed up Lauren: “Each one of us can be part of the solution.”

JUST IN: Plans Revealed For Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center For Education And Tolerance’s Capital Campaign

Frank Risch is a very busy fellow. He’s headed up the search for the Communities Foundation of Texas CEO. The buzz is that the decision on Brent Christopher’s successor should be announced soon.

Now, word just arrived from the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance that Frank is co-chairing the “Building a Foundation of Hope” capital campaign to raise the remainder of the $61M for building a 50,000-square-foot museum that will be “a new permanent home in the West End Historic District. The new museum will be named Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.”

Frank Risch (File photo)

Frank Risch (File photo)

Mary Pat Higgins (File photo)

Mary Pat Higgins (File photo)

The museum “has already raised two thirds of the funds it needs to start construction, which will take about two years to complete. More than $43 million has been raised.”

According to Museum President/CEO Mary Pat Higgins, “At a time when Texas leads the nation in the number of active hate groups, and the Dallas community is still healing from the July 7th attack on local law enforcement officers, the most violent and hateful act against law enforcement officers since 9/11, we believe the mission of the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is more important than ever.”

Mary Pat explains that due to running out of space in the current rented facility, the museum was “limited in the number of visitors we can see at one time, and many schools and thousands of students are not able to visit as their class sizes are too large for our current museum. We have been forced to move many of our events to other venues. These are all wonderful problems to have, but we urgently have to address our community’s need for education surrounding the history of the Holocaust and it’s all too relevant lessons. This need has led our board to unanimously approve the ‘Building a Foundation of Hope’ capital campaign to create the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.”

Built in the parking lot near Houston Street and the DART Rail corridor, the new museum will feature new exhibit galleries on human rights and American ideals, a 250-seat theater, new classrooms, an expanded library and archive, modern technology throughout, a special reflections and memorial area for visitors and much more.

So far capital campaign donors have included:

  • $10,000,000: Ann and Nate Levine
  • $3,000,000-$4,999,999: Carol and Steve Aaron
  • $1,000,000-$2,999,999: Edward and Wilhelmina Ackerman Family Foundation, Alon USA Energy Inc., Janet and Jeffrey Beck, The Brown Family, Cinemark, Cynthia and Robert Feldman, Funk Families, Estate of Lilian Furst, Glazer Family, Lisa and Neil Goldberg, Sherry and Kenny Goldberg, Dot and Basil Haymann, The Hirsch Family Foundation, Helen and Frank Risch, Simmons Sisters Fund, Donna and Herbert Weitzman and Peggy and Mark Zilbermann