Federation Leaders Brief Ben Gurions on JCL Plans, Progress

Bagels Bloody Marys Ben Gurion 20141-14(see full photo gallery below)

Members of the Ben Gurion Society, YAD members who make leadership gifts to the Annual Federation Campaign, took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about what is happening in the Jewish community today at the Bagels and Bloody Marys event, hosted by Beth and Michael Salamon at their home on Sunday, September 7.

Jewish Community of Louisville Board Chair Karen Abrams provided an overview, then she and President and CEO Stu Silberman engaged in dialogue with those present.

In introducing the Strategic Plan, Abrams highlighted many of the quality programs now offered at the Jewish Community Center, including the senior nutrition program, the preschool, which was the first in the Jewish community to offer care beginning at age six weeks and is improving regularly; the PJ Library and BBYO.

Deciding what to do with the current facility, Abrams pointed out, is also a major part of the plan. She acknowledged there is frustration about how long the process is taking, but stressed it is more important to make the right choice. She pointed to Congregation Adath Jeshurun as an example. It took them 12 years to decide what to do, and today, they have a beautiful facility. That said, the JCL also recognizes the need to make a decision about the JCC.

There are a lot of factors that play into the decision, including the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE) committee that is looking at uses for the Standard Club. JHFE is hiring a land use expert to look at that property, she explained, and the JCL will do the same for the JCC.

The JCC needs a presence on Dutchmans Lane going forward, she said, and the Board needs to consider the feasibility of a satellite campus on the Standard Club property. The Standard Club clubhouse is too small today to meet the JCC’s total needs, she added, but the agency is exploring collaboration opportunities.

In addition, the Board needs to determine what the community’s future needs are before moving forward. It must consider everything from the pool and fitness facilities to the preschool to theater arts and all other programming needs.

It will also look zip code analysis and projections of what the community will look like in 20 years. Members, users and donors as well as revenue sources will be taken into consideration. All options will be explored, Abrams said.

Silberman added that in the past five years, the JCL has demonstrated that the JCC is viable. Now it is assessing agency needs to determine the optimum amount of space required for a sustainable agency. He hopes to have the answer by the end of the year, but the focus is on doing it right.

Laurence Nibur, a member of both the JCL Board and the Ben Gurion Society, pointed out that through surveys, six priorities were established that the Planning and Allocations Committee has been using. These include education, seniors, Jewish life and learning, financial viability, community building and Israel.

The JCL has made significant progress since then, he continued, pointing to the Strategic Plan, progress in the addressing the agencies financial issues including working toward resolving pension issues and managing cash flow, unified marketing and more. The agency is healthier today than it was three years ago.

Abrams wrapped up the program by stressing the importance of the Annual Federation Campaign and calling on Ben Gurion members to show their leadership again by volunteering.

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