Make a Gift
How to Make a Gift to the Initiative
Click here to make your one-time or recurring gift. You may also text "HRED20" to 71777 to make a gift.
To learn more about supporting the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative, please contact Heather Winfield, Penn State's Director of Strategic Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giving to the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative, part of the Hammel Family Human Rights Initiative, helps to support dedicated staff members who advance the Initiative's mission and the expansion of professional learning opportunities for educators.
Through its inquiry-based professional learning (PL) programs, the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative supports K-12 teachers who are engaging students with difficult topics. The need for the Initiative is as great as ever. For instance, four out of ten young people possess little to no awareness about the Holocaust, according to a 2018 study by Schoen Consulting. Two-thirds of millennials have never heard of or know little about the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. It is safe to describe many students’ genocide and human rights knowledge as limited.
"All kids can think, and all kids can think deeply, but you have to engineer it for them in a way that makes them comfortable with it and allows them the space to make mistakes. There's a lot … here that can really make them better thinkers."Wendy Smith, 5th Grade Social Studies and ELA teacher in the Red Lion Area School District (Red Lion, PA)
Normalized messages of bias and hate create conditions in which human rights violations and genocide become possible. Disrupting these messages in society requires direct and sustained engagement with difficult topics in schools. The Initiative’s collaborative, yearlong programs support teachers and students in using compelling questions to drive learning and developing empathy, critical thinking, agency, and civic-discourse skills around complex social issues.
“My parents believed strongly in the idea of ‘tikkun olam,’ which is Hebrew for ‘repair the world.’ It means you should try to leave the world in a better position than when you entered it. We believe this Initiative really has the potential to do that, to make a profound, positive, transformational difference that carries down through the generations.”Vic Hammel, PSU Alum and Donor to the Initiative
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the Initiative brings together scholarly and practical expertise from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, the College of Education, the College of the Liberal Arts, Penn State Law, and other areas of the University as well as external partners such as the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Anti-Defamation League, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Your gift can help the Initiative:
- Provide high-quality, yearlong PD for Pennsylvania teachers and school districts.
- Expand our impact outside of Pennsylvania to reach more educators, impacting more students.
- Offer free, online courses on trauma-informed practices and inquiry-based learning of difficult topics for educators across the country.
- Research the effectiveness of our programs and contribute to scholarship on inquiry-based, trauma-informed learning about difficult topics.