The Sady Kahn Trust Gives Conservation Program its First Matching Gift

by Margaret MacDonald, Development Writer, College of Letters and Sciences 

The UCLA/Getty Master’s Interdepartmental Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials has received a $250,000 gift from the Sady Kahn Trust. The generous gift qualifies for the one-to-one match for the challenge grant awarded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2011, and will support graduate students in the program who will be named Kahn Graduate Fellows.

Ioanna Kakoulli, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Chair of the program, said the gift would be instrumental in attracting top scholars by raising the level of graduate student support.

Housed in the Cotsen Institute and the Getty Villa, students and faculty in the program work in state-of-the-art laboratories on authentic objects from local museums. Internships at top-tier museums and archaeological sites are also a major component of the program.

Sady Kahn, with her husband Ludwig, were among thousands of German-Jewish refugees who fled Germany in the late 1930s when the Nazis rose to power, with little more than the clothes on their backs. The Kahns worked hard to forge a new life in Los Angeles, establishing a thriving hat business.

Sady and Ludwig Kahn

Sady and Ludwig Kahn

Ludwig died in 1999, and soon after, Sady created the Sady Kahn Trust. One of the charitable beneficiaries is UCLA. According to Jim Keir, trustee of the Sady Kahn Trust, UCLA was a perfect fit with her values and interests.

“Having had no children of her own, Sady would be delighted to know that her Trust is benefiting young scholars in such an important research area,” Keir said.

Keir began distributing the trust’s assets after Sady’s death in 2009, beginning with a transformative $2 million gift to establish the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Directorship of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Then in 2013, the Trust established a $2 million endowment for the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History in the UCLA Department of History, which provides funds for the chair holder’s research, graduate student support, and annual public seminars and symposia.

“With every distribution, I have applied two guiding principles: the gift should honor Sady’s memory and be consistent with her wishes,” Keir said.

Keir and his wife, Lori, are both UCLA alumni as are their two daughters; their granddaughter is a freshman at UCLA, making her a third-generation Bruin. 

James and Lori Keir

James and Lori Keir