JCC celebrates its Rich history

June 4, 2017

PHOTO | SCOTT EISEN
Barbara Schneider, left,  presents Sharon and Howard Rich with the Samuel S. Stahl Community Service Award at the annual North Shore JCC meeting in Marblehead on Sunday.

By MATT DEMIRS

MARBLEHEADThe Jewish Community Center celebrated its 105th annual meeting Sunday morning after another successful year.

“There are many reasons why this JCC is a success story,” said President John Gilberg, during his address to guests, leadership, members, and award recipients.

Much of this success can be attributed to the company’s growth since 2012 when they were losing almost $75,000 a month, said Howard Rich, recipient of the Samuel S. Stahl Community Service Award.

The nonprofit’s annual revenue in 2012 was $3.8 million. Since then, it has increased to $6.1 million, according to 2016 unaudited income statements.

Gilberg said much of the success has been because of the involvement of younger people in leadership who have joined the established core of leaders and volunteers.

“We have been very lucky to get some of our committee stocked with fresh minds,” he said.

Although numbers are looking up, the JCC is still trying increase its  endowment through an ambitious five-year plan, Gilberg said.

“We need $2 million in cash and another $3 million in pledges in our endowment,” he said. “We are close to the $2 million in cash, but far short of the three additional million dollars pledged.”

“What you need to know is that we are not flushed with cash,” said Executive Director Marty Schneer. He said the organization is dedicated to reinvesting into their current building which needs regular improvements.

“We have been very successful in the past several years and have been able to update many things in this building. We have spent over $250,000 each year for upgrades and improvements,” he said.  “This has allowed us to save quite a bit of money on our energy and operating costs.”

Schneer said the organization spent $400,000 on the building in 2016 alone.

“We’ve replaced the roof, lighting, and many HVAC units to energy efficient items. It costs us significantly less now than it has for the last 10 years and that’s quite an accomplishment in this age,” said Gilberg.

The two major building improvements still needed  include the windows and the heating system, he said.

Much of the JCC’s revenue is generated by program revenue and fees. Some of the programs showing growth during 2016 were the signature events, such as Jewish Book Month and Film Festival camp, the fitness center, and the early childhood program.

Overall fundraising has also increased 20  percent in 2016.

One of the president’s visions for next year is to get more younger people involved. Established in 1912, the Jewish Community Center is the largest Jewish organization on the North Shore with over 4,000 members.

During the ceremony, members and staff were honored: Sharon and Howard Rich — the Samuel S. Stahl Community Service Award, Fern & Joseph Zang — Presidential Award, Stephanie Walsh — the Beau Paul Professional Staff Award.

New board members were also confirmed during the meeting.


Matt Demirs can be reached at mdemirs@itemlive.com.