Andrea and Barry Cayton
In her philanthropic pursuits, Andrea Cayton has made a point of focusing on education, supporting institutions such as the Cayton’s Children Museum and Holocaust Museum LA. By focusing in part on “education about humanity,” according to Cayton, she and her family hope to help children “learn about the past and be more tolerant.” When it comes to issues like prejudice and hatred, Cayton believes it’s “harder to change older minds. But if you start young, you are more likely do so.”
As an extension of this philanthropic philosophy, Cayton and her husband Barry were proud to support USC Shoah Foundation’s production of Ruth: A Little Girl’s Big Journey as Executive Producers. She sees the lessons imparted by the film and accompanying curriculum as part of a vital extension of traditional education, one that focuses on character building, empathy and kindness, rather than solely on academic subjects.
Cayton believes that, though often overlooked when compared to conventional scholastic instruction, lessons “on how to be a good human being” are just as important for schools to teach.
Ruth: A Little Girl’s Big Journey, with its focus on acceptance, bravery and hope, does just that, imparting the lesson that “everyone is equal, no matter what religion or nationality; we’re still people and should be treated fairly,” said Cayton. She believes that this lesson in humanity has taken on extra meaning in the COVID age of distance learning, during which students are separated from classmates and friends. Cayton believes that the film can initiate conversations, create connections and teach children to be kind to other people and to overcome obstacles—such as the isolation brought about by the pandemic.
Cayton credits her drive for philanthropic support to her father, who taught her to give back and continue educating people—especially children—about the atrocities of the Holocaust. Her father, Jona Goldrich, was a Holocaust survivor whose testimony resides in the Visual History Archive, and whose Goldrich Family Foundation has supported the Institute’s Jona Goldrich Center for Digital Storytelling along with a variety of other philanthropic pursuits in education and beyond.
Additionally, Cayton’s sister Melinda Goldrich, a member of the Executive Committee on the Institute’s Board of Councilors, is a longtime supporter of USC Shoah Foundation. Together Cayton and her sister are keeping their father’s memory alive and continuing their family’s legacy.