The National Museum of American Jewish History received a $1 million gift from the family of renowned shoe designer and entrepreneur Stuart Weitzman.
“One of our greatest pleasures is having the opportunity to give back to important causes, and we feel very strongly about our Jewish heritage,” Weitzman said in a press release. “American Jewish history should be a source of pride for all American Jews, many of whom don’t know these stories. Learning this history can inspire a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American experience — and have a meaningful impact on reducing prejudice and anti-Semitism.”
In recognition of the donation, the museum’s “First Families” gallery, which details the lives of early Jewish settlers of the colonial era in America, will be named in the family’s honor.
The gallery highlights primarily Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal drawn to America, like Weitzman’s own family. The shoe brand’s factories have also been based in Spain for decades.
Weitzman is a native of Long Island, N.Y., where he learned shoemaking from his father during an apprenticeship. He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a career in finance, but after his father unexpectedly died, Weitzman and his brother took over the family shoemaking business.
Stuart Weitzman, Inc. was sold to Coach in 2015.