Jewish Community Center launches $1 million fundraising campaign

JCC president and CEO, Mark Shapiro blows his shofar for the children of Gan Ami Early Childhood Education in preparation for Rosh Hashanah.

The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center has launched a $1 million fundraising campaign to make up short-term funding gaps because of COVID-19.

The Campaign For A Strong JCC will address “temporary but significant gaps” created by lower membership enrollment, early childhood capacity and cyclical program revenue, the organization said.

“This is a call to action for our community and our agency,” said JCC president and chief executive officer Mark Shapiro. “We need to ensure that the JCC that has benefited and boosted us for decades is vibrant and ready to do the same for our children. At the same time, we have to respond to this moment in time, and recognize that while change may not have been deserved – it’s our responsibility to seize this moment and respond with the spirit and energy that got us here.”

The JCC closed its buildings on March 13, two weeks before the state’s “Safer at Home” order went into effect, and returned to offering in-person services in June. During the shutdown, JCC converted its Jewish Community Food Pantry from a walk-in, grocery-store-style food pantry to a drive-through operation.

During the summer, it provided youth summer programming in response to the absence of traditional day camps.

This fall, the organization launched its Student Center, which provides onsite full-day support for students who are doing online learning.

“What this community has been able to do over the past seven months has been extraordinary and uniquely focused on empowering families to stay safe, healthy, and engaged,” said JCC board chair Nancy Kennedy Barnett. “From the Jewish Community Pantry to special needs programs to senior adult engagement to physically distanced wellness classes – our community has stood up to declare they are for a healthy JCC, and for a bright future with limited service interruption.”

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