JCL Update | September 27, 2013

JCL Update | September 27, 2013

by Stu Silberman, President and CEO, Jewish Community of Louisville

First a clarification. Rumors are rampant throughout the community that the JCC is moving to the Standard Country Club. Here are the facts:

Present discussions on the disposition of the Standard Country Club are between the club and the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence; the JCL has not yet been formally approached to join in the dialogue.

The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence intends to facilitate broad community planning on potential uses for the club property. The JCL will be included in those discussions.

It’s exciting to think about JCC programming at the club; however, any decision to do so will be based on data gathered from thoughtful consideration of the options by our key stakeholders.

There are no plans to cease operation of the current JCC.

Our strategic planning process is continuing to address fundamental questions about who the JCL’s stakeholders are, and the programs and services that they would like. While physical location is an important aspect of any agency’s operations, it should not drive the content of the mission and vision – those come first.

When you hear the words “strategic planning,” what comes to mind? As I write this, the day after your JCL’s Board of Directors spent a Sunday morning discussing the topic, I think: inspiration, momentum and communication. This board-led effort is among the most important any agency needs to accomplish.

Your board has embraced their role, and we ended that session with a sense of pride with how the agency has changed over the past three years to meet the current needs of our community. Now, together, we embark on the challenge of projecting our community’s future needs and, if necessary, making changes so we are best able to meet those needs, taking into account the realities of scarce resources the JCL faces today.

We are dealing with the same issues as many non-profits: how do we increase investment in our agency, recruit new volunteers and encourage our community members to participate in more of our programs? During this process we need to ask you and ask ourselves, what’s the best way we can use those resources to accomplish our mission?

If you’ve read my updates, you’ll recall that this is not the first time we’ve addressed these issues. Strategic planning has been a part of our overall work at the JCL since merger. We’ve conducted surveys, completed program reviews, and acted strategically in carrying out our responsibilities.

Based on the work we’ve completed since merger, we:

  • Increased Jewish content throughout our programs;
  • Created a more welcoming and inclusive philanthropic program and significantly expanded our revenue sources, focusing on the annual Federation Campaign and seeking new funding sources;
  • Strengthened our governance processes with a focus on volunteer recruitment and development;
  • Revised our branding and communications strategy;
  • Prudently invested in our physical plant to provide the best environment for our members and program participants; and
  • Benchmarked ourselves vs. peer agencies and made adjustments based on those results.

Recently we chose to get a 2013 perspective, and we asked your opinions through an online survey, focus groups and stakeholder meetings. To those who participated, thank you. We are also engaging thought-leaders from other agencies to ensure that as Louisville’s central Jewish organization we include perspectives from across the community in our process.

To be effective, a strategic plan is always a work in progress. In the next few months we intend to complete this revision and share it with you. What will it say? We’d still like your input. If you have ideas for us to consider, or concerns you feel we need to address with suggested approaches as to how to do so, please email them to info@jewishlouisville.org and include “Strategic Planning” in the subject line.

Meanwhile, we welcome you to our campus to participate in the programs and services we currently offer. Read through this issue of Community to see what’s coming up, and check our website, www.jewishlouisville.org, and our weekly updates for the latest. Please join us.

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