When Amy and Andrew Cohn first visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1995, they had no idea what an important part of their lives it would become.
“We were struck by the number and diversity of the visitors,” Amy says. Her husband adds, “I remember that people were visibly moved by what they were seeing. They would just be transfixed at certain places of the Permanent Exhibition.”
The Cohns did not lose any family members during the Holocaust, and living nearly 2,500 miles away in Phoenix, Arizona, they might easily have chosen to support an organization closer to home.
Yet when their friends Museum Founders Bill and Susan Levine invited them to a dinner in 2005 to discuss the work of the Museum, they found themselves inspired by the Museum’s mission of Holocaust remembrance and education.
According to the Cohns, the Museum is uniquely positioned to educate others because of its comprehensive collections, professional approach to disseminating information, and international reach, including through its multilingual website.
The couple’s growing passion for the Museum coincided with what their children were learning in school about the genocide then taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan. “Our children were educating us about Darfur, and we in turn were able to talk with them about the Holocaust and the Museum’s role in inspiring youth and the leaders of tomorrow to confront hatred and genocide,” Andrew recalls.
As their commitment to the Museum grew, Amy and Andrew started to host events in their home, co-chaired the 2011 Phoenix Tribute Dinner, and, undeterred by their distance from Washington, have visited the Museum a dozen times through the years. They also earned a special place in the hearts of Museum staff through their hospitality and amazing homemade hamantaschen, which they provide upon request.
Eager to provide more than annual support to the Museum, Amy and Andrew spoke to their children, Alexa (22) and Matthew (20), about establishing a deferred legacy gift. Together, they decided to make the Museum a beneficiary of a life insurance policy with the proceeds directed toward the Museum’s endowment—demonstrating their dedication to securing the permanence of Holocaust memory, relevance, and understanding. “By supporting the Museum in this way, we’re ensuring the future for our children and making a better world,” Amy says.
Now, as Legacy of Light Guardian Founders, the Cohns are helping the Museum meet both the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead.