Next Generation Council member Thomas Melcher is a longstanding supporter of USC Shoah Foundation. His work to foster tolerance was reaffirmed by the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, when 130 people were murdered with hundreds more wounded. “I fear that the regularity of these events is slowly desensitizing us all,” he says.
Still, Melcher sees hope for the future — but only if all of us make our voices heard in rejecting hatred and bigotry, no matter what their source or whom they target.
“Oftentimes, victims alone don’t have the ability to overcome injustices,” he says. “The rest of us need to step up. Each of us has a responsibility to create the world we’d like our children and grandchildren to be raised in.”
Thom is the chief investment officer for the PNC Asset Management Group - one of the largest wealth management firms in the country. He first learned of the Institute through a client being honored at the annual Ambassadors for Humanity Gala. That event — and the Institute’s mission — left quite an impression, and he has now been involved with the Shoah Foundation for nearly a decade. He donates to the Institute’s anti-Semitism fund and serves on the Next Generation Council.
“I remember just being totally blown away — not only because of being able to connect history to the present, but [also] because of the tendency to think of atrocities that happened in the past as being ancient history, when in fact they’re all too frequent in the present,” he adds.
What inspired Melcher most “was knowing there was an organization committed to making the world a better place, and that there was really room for everybody to have a role in doing that. It just has to start with the mindset of ‘I’m going do something,” instead of ‘I choose to be a passive bystander,’” he says. "For me, the Next Generation Council was the perfect opportunity to serve and to make a difference." The Council consists of roughly 30 professions from around the country who are committed to amplifying the voice of survivors and furthering the mission of the Institute.