The Anti-Defamation League has announced that Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, pledged a gift of $2.5 million to the organization in support of ADL’s ongoing efforts to combat hate and bias in the United States and Europe.

The donation, which will be made through the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, is a birthday tribute to her parents, Joel and Adele Sandberg, and will be used to support anti-hate and anti-bias education programs, research and advocacy.

“We are honored to receive Sheryl’s generous gift and grateful for her commitment to fighting hate in  all of its forms,” said ADL CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt. “We are at a critical  juncture in the fight against bigotry because it will take more than words to solve this ever-escalating problem.”

In a post on her personal Facebook page, Sandberg said she was moved to take action after hearing that on Oct. 8—Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar—a synagogue in Halle, Germany, was attacked, leaving two non-Jewish people dead and two others wounded. German authorities confirmed the terror incident had an anti-Semitic motive.

Sandberg also described how her parents have been horrified about the rise of anti-Semitism, especially since synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway, Calif.

“As I was sitting in synagogue with my parents on Yom Kippur, my mind wandered to earlier in the day when I saw the news that a gunman had attacked a synagogue in Halle on the holiest day of the Jewish year,” said Sandberg. “I couldn’t help but think that the situation could have been far worse had the synagogue door not been locked. With my parents’ 75th birthdays approaching, and the recent and ongoing hate crimes at home and in Europe, I felt compelled to support the ADL and recognize their tireless work and commitment to counter extremism and hate.”

In her post, Sandberg encouraged others to act by participating in ADL’s “11 Actions for 11 Lives,” an online social-media campaign to urge Americans to participate in one meaningful action to commemorate the one-year mark of the Pittsburgh tragedy on Oct. 27.

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