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Letter to the community: Tough year gives way to ‘exciting’ Jewish future here

Dear JCL friends,

Like everything, this year our annual meeting is different. While we wish we could have been in our JCC building greeting each other with hugs and smiles, we are thankful to be together virtually reflecting on an unprecedented year. We are most grateful to each of you, our donors, members, supporters and family of staff and friends.
This past year included many highlights as an agency, including phenomenal leadership gifts for the capital campaign, a new partnership for all Jewish children and our response to the COVID-19 crisis:
• The Our Community, Our Future capital campaign has quietly moved forward securing more than $38 million to date. The response from our lead donors including individuals, families and foundations has been remarkable. We hear over and over again how important the JCC has been and is to the entire community and how it’s shaped the lives of so many. Plans for the new building have taken shape even as the world took a pause during the early months of the pandemic. Our team continued to move forward with the pre-construction phase allowing us to keep the project on task.
• Jewish youth experiences, specifically overnight summer camp and Israel trips, took top priority in this fiscal year as a result of our partnership with the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence. Seventy-one children, teens and young adults received One Happy Camper incentive grants or financial assistance, but many of these programs were cancelled due to the pandemic. We are already counting down the days to next summer.
• To respond to COVID-19, along with our partner agencies and synagogues, we created the United Jewish Louisville Rapid Response Fund to support areas of greatest need. This included assistance to continue the work of our partner agencies, congregations and the programs that provide critical community services.
Our year was interrupted on March 16 as we closed the doors to our JCC when the coronavirus impacted the world around us. We quickly created virtual programming online for our members, donors and community. The JCC reopened its doors on June 1 with limited capacity and reduced staff. Since then, we have been dedicated to the health and safety of our members while we bring health and wellness areas back online, our ELC children together and continue Camp J for our youth and teens.
Much of our work now is centered around defining a collective vision for our future. A significant part of this vision is helping families navigate and engage in every Jewish opportunity locally and globally. The Federation recently hired its first senior director of Jewish Journeys and Experiences, Alison Roemer, to lead our work on this initiative.
As we enter an exciting and optimistic time for our community and the world at large, we also know that it is one that is a little different than what we planned for. We remain focused on our vision to inspire meaningful lives, while transforming our Jewish future. We share thousands of years of history, tradition and experiences, as well as our resilience and communal strength, which gives us both confidence in a strong future.

Sincerely,

Jon Fleischaker Sara Klein Wagner
Board Chair President & CEO

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