If you have not heard the latest buzz about the Boroughs JCC, then the winds of change have simply not reached you yet. In the last few weeks, two community meetings gathered to inform parents, community members, and anyone interested in the center’
s survival to discuss how sustainability of the Boroughs JCC can occur. The current voices streaming out of the building at 45 Oak Street articulate community support and sustainability.
Just over two years ago, five volunteers stepped into action, responding to the imminent closure of the Westborough Area JCC. With twelve years of history at the time, the doors were closing and sadness loomed over a population that, in its heyday, saw a thriving community center. Those five volunteers worked tirelessly to start a new 501c3 non-profit, the Boroughs JCC. Over two years later, an executive board of seven and a dedicated staff have expanded the center’s programs and a preschool serving more than 80 families.
Yet during an economic challenging time, the sustainability remains elusive. Money coming in was slightly slower than money going out. With advertising and enough word-of-mouth about the preschool — the hidden gem of our area — preschool registration for the fall of 2012 was not growing as planned. On May 3rd, Dave Crandall, Vice President of Development, and the board of directors, led an emergency community meeting to share the news.
“As a Board, we believe strongly in our community,” noted Crandall. “We let our community know that our long term sustainability needs their involvement. If we are to have a JCC, then the community must feel a connection, ownership, responsibility for its health.”
The response to the call to action was almost overwhelming. Not only have individuals and families from the community opened their pocketbooks, but donations have come from friends and family near and far. More importantly, members of our community stepped up in record numbers to support the JCC with their time and expertise. The result: a windfall of fundraising ideas, a new marketing campaign, and a grant committee to help create the sustainability and to revitalize what began two plus years ago.
In less than two weeks, the community fixed the immediate cash shortfall and stepped forward the resources and expertise to allow the center to continue.
“We asked the community to step up and it has,” stated Allen Edinberg, President of the Boroughs JCC. “In actions and donations, the community is sending a clear message that they want a successful community center that continues to serve, support, and grow with the community.”
With a whole-child, developmental philosophy, families of all faiths appreciate the life lessons expressed through the program. For preschoolers, the Jewish education program focuses on values, beliefs, and character development common across cultures.
“As we continue to work on our 1 year and 3 year operating plans, we also are planning new programs and services,” noted Edinberg. “We cannot stand still; we must continue to strive to expand our programs and services. Doing so improves our sustainability while fulfilling our mission.”
The JCC is working on plans to offer a range of enrichment, arts, and cultural programs to school age children and families. The JCC is working with JFS Worcester and Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JF & CS) of Greater Boston to expand child, family, and elder services in our area. The JCC is also working on joint programs with JFCM, including its PJ Library program, MetroWest Jewish Day School, and neighboring JCCs.
With active community participation and generosity, and the continued dedication of the Board of Directors and staff, the Boroughs JCC will do more than survive, it will thrive. For more information, contact the Boroughs JCC at 508-366-6121, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.boroughsjcc.org.