Home Agencies Weinstein JCC Sustainability Fund, From Strength to Strength

Weinstein JCC Sustainability Fund, From Strength to Strength


On Dec. 8, the Weinstein JCC held a virtual donor event.

We lit the Hanukkah candles together, watched the kids outshine all the other speakers with their enthusiastic Hanukkah song, and saw a video presentation prepared by the staff and lay leaders. It was a beautiful and well attended event.

Ashley Simon Brooks, Weinstein JCC Board President Weinstein JCC Photo

As the president of the Board of Directors, I opened the meeting with some remarks to let those in attendance know just how much the support and generosity the Weinstein JCC has received over the past few months has meant.

With the New Year around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my thoughts with all of you as well:

It’s been quite a year – that’s an understatement for sure. The Weinstein JCC staff and members have put in an incredible amount of creativity and energy these past nine months. And while our first choice would be to see you in person and show you the work that’s gone on at the Center, we will have to wait for the usual in-person experience.

Our marketing staff, however, along with lay leaders, created a beautiful video to highlight some of the ways we have adapted to the current times as well as some of our many accomplishments despite the current times. This video can be seen on the homepage at weinsteinjcc.org.

We have seen our staff perform personal outreach to our most needy and vulnerable populations. We have seen them switch from in person to virtual and back again, but this time with masks and spacing. We have rearranged our rooms to accommodate kids who aren’t in school. We have opened our gym and safely allowed people to come back into workout, socialize, and feel a little 2019, although not much from 2020 resembles the year before.

We have all heard the words “unprecedented,” “challenging,” and “new reality” to describe this time we’re in. It has been all of those and plenty more.

The pandemic has fundamentally changed how we, and everyone else, does business. It’s changed how we communicate, gather (or as the case may be, not gather), how we learn, work, and care for our families, our friends and ourselves. It’s changed how we manage and use our resources and even how we determine who needs those resources.

And who knows, perhaps it will even create positive changes when all is said and done. I certainly think so.

Like everyone else, I’m multi-tasking with many jobs—mom, lawyer, president, wife—occasional uber driver in the mom role. My primary job in 2020, however, has been being an optimist.

While we, and the community, has seen our fair share of challenges, I also see opportunity. And as we put 2020 behind us, the opportunity we have in front of us cannot be ignored or underestimated.

We, as an agency, have embraced these changes. While the staff and lay leadership continue to address the increased need resulting from the pandemic—both our walls and within our community—we have also been looking to the future and asking the hard questions:

What do we look like post pandemic?

What do we need to do to get there?

The Weinstein JCC has a 75th birthday coming up in October … how do we make the next 75 even better than the first?

While we don’t have all the answers today, the past nine months have certainly reinforced one thing that we’ve known all along: we can’t do this alone. We work better and are more successful as a collective with shared goals: strength, community, sustainability, growth, innovation, and service.

Has it been challenging and unprecedented? Absolutely. Have we had to struggle like every other business and nonprofit in the country? Absolutely. But we have something that they don’t – we have each other and more importantly, we have YOU.

This year, the Weinstein JCC established the Sustainability Fund. This fund allows us to use unrestricted donations so that we have maximum flexibility to address the increased needs we have seen during the pandemic.

From scholarship dollars to school supplies, from cleaning products to temperature testing machines, every dollar goes to keeping our doors open in a safe and healthy way.

We are so grateful for the outpouring of support for this initiative from our members and the community at large. This is both affirmation of our past and confirmation of our future as an integral part of the Jewish and Richmond communities.

While we are all happy to see 2020 in the rearview mirror, we are not at the finish line yet. We look forward to coming back better than ever and with your support, making 2021 another year to remember…for good reasons.

To donate to the Weinstein JCC Sustainability Fund, click here or contact Development Director Margret O’Keefe at: mokeefe@weinsteinjcc.org or (804) 545-8609.

The Weinstein JCC is supported, in part, by a generous annual contribution, programming grants and COVID-19 Crisis Relief Funds from the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond.

Editor’s Note: To read about H.J. “Jack” Bernstein, a pioneer in the JCC movement in Richmond, Camp Hilbert and much more, click here.

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