New York, NY, October 16, 2019 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today announced that Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, pledged a generous personal gift of $2.5 million to the organization in support of ADL’s ongoing efforts to combat hate and bias both in the U.S. and Europe. The donation, which will be made through the Sheryl Sandberg & David Goldberg Family Foundation, is a birthday tribute to her parents, Joel and Adele Sandberg, and will be used to support anti-hate and anti-bias education programs, research, and advocacy.
“We are honored to receive Sheryl’s generous gift and grateful for her commitment to fighting hate in all of its forms,” said ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt. “We are at a critical juncture in the fight against bigotry because it will take more than words to solve this ever-escalating problem. The horrific attack on Yom Kippur in Halle, Germany, which left two dead, has made it even more apparent that the time to act is now.”
In a statement posted to her personal Facebook page, Sandberg explained that she was moved to take action while learning that last week on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, a synagogue in Halle, Germany was attacked, leaving two dead and two others wounded. German authorities confirmed the terror incident had an anti-Semitic motive. Sandberg also described how her parents have been horrified in the rise of anti-Semitism, especially since the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh when 11 congregants from three synagogues – Congregation Dor Hadash, New Light Congregation and Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation – were killed in the Tree of Life synagogue and six others were wounded, including four police officers. Between these two awful shootings, there have been other hate fueled attacks including Christchurch, Poway, and El Paso. These incidents are evidence of an undeniable and disturbing trend that anti-Semitic violence is now the most prevalent it’s been in decades.
“As I was sitting in synagogue with my parents on Yom Kippur, my mind wandered to earlier in the day when I saw the news that a gunman had attacked a synagogue in Halle on the holiest day of the Jewish year,” said Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. “I couldn’t help but think that the situation could have been far worse had the synagogue door not been locked. With my parents’ 75th birthdays approaching and the recent and ongoing hate crimes at home and in Europe, I felt compelled to support the ADL and recognize their tireless work and commitment to counter extremism and hate.”
In her post, Sandberg also encourages others to act by participating in ADL’s “11 Actions for 11 Lives,” an online social media campaign to encourage Americans from all walks of life to participate in one meaningful action to help commemorate the one-year mark of the Pittsburgh tragedy.