[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
The Jewish Community of Louisville is serious about improving the programs and services it offers and its accountability to the community. To accomplish this, the agency is turning to its national parent agencies – the Jewish Community Centers Association (JCCA) and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) – for help through consultants and other programs and services they offer as part of the JCL’s membership.
This fiscal year, through JCCA’s Benchmarking Program, the JCL is taking a close look at the JCC – what is being done well, where improvement is needed and steps that can be taken to effect meaningful change.
The process began several months ago when the community and staff members were invited to participate in a survey about all aspects of the Jewish Community Center.
Many people in the Jewish community participated in the survey, and the JCL appreciates the strong response. It is an indication that people in the community care deeply about the JCC and are willing to share their opinions.
JCCA then compiled all the survey results from all comparable size JCCs and created an extensive and comprehensive report for the JCC of Louisville, and sent benchmarking expert Dori Denelle to go over the report with key leaders, staff and the JCL Board. The full version includes all of the comments people made as well as general survey results.
This year’s survey established a baseline of performance for Louisville’s JCC, and Denelle advised the Board to focus on four or five areas for improvement, establish measurable goals and identify tactics to use to accomplish those goals. The Center will participate in the program again next year to gauge the success of these efforts.
Jeff Tuvlin is chairing the Benchmark Committee that will guide the follow up process, and Senior Vice President and COO Sara Wagner is staffing it. “We’re really capitalizing and maintaining the areas where we’re doing well,” he said, “and we’re going to focus on four or five areas where, compared with our peers, we have room for improvement.”
Tuvlin thanked all those who participated in the survey and added, “Please participate again in next year’s survey and watch for changes and improvements.”
“The fact that we have engaged in benchmarking and have assigned a member of the Board to chair the process means there will be accountability and follow-through with the staff,” he added.
Tuvlin credited JCL President and CEO Stu Silberman with taking the initiative to participate in benchmarking. “One thing Stu has done very well is using services we are entitled to from our national organizations, reaching out to those resources to better the Center for the community.”
He pointed to the community’s work on strategic planning with Gail Zucker, a consultant from JFNA, as another example of Silberman’s taking advantage of national memberships. “It’s low-hanging fruit,” he said, “and we’re all going to benefit from it.”
Benchmarking is an ongoing process. Watch for updates in future issues of Community.