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October 2020 – Pictured standing in the background, from left, is the JCC's Pamela Ranieri, director of children's programming; Marci Erlebacher, executive director, holding a Matthews grant check; and Steven Sisskind, board president, while several preschoolers in the early childhood program take a break from their arts and crafts activity.
October 2020 – Pictured standing in the background, from left, is the JCC's Pamela Ranieri, director of children's programming; Marci Erlebacher, executive director, holding a Matthews grant check; and Steven Sisskind, board president, while several preschoolers in the early childhood program take a break from their arts and crafts activity.

Let us be like the lines that lead to the center of a circle—uniting there, and not like parallel lines, which never join.
        – Hasidic saying

Dear Friends,

Photo of Steven Sisskind, JCC board president, and Marci Erlebacher, JCC executive director.Just when we think we’ve seen it all we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic. The JCC has never experienced anything of this magnitude. We are truly in uncharted territory.

As you may remember the JCC temporarily closed on March 18. Our management team continued to work remotely, connecting and planning via weekly Zoom meetings. Once the promise of reopening was in sight, we started purchasing thousands of dollars’ worth of personal protective equipment (PPE).

We reopened slowly and cautiously on June 1 with Senior Lunch curbside pickup. The Early Childhood Program reopened a week later with 42 children enrolled (we closed in March with 157 enrolled). Our Summer Camp opened on July 6—one of the first camps in Onondaga County to open—at about half the enrollment of a “normal” summer. Our Fitness Center began to slowly reopen in July with mostly virtual and outdoor classes and activities. With the governor’s order our indoor workouts resumed in late August with more and more members gradually returning to the gym. Our reopening was successful because of the many new health and safety protocols we had implemented.

We read that some 40% of our nation’s childcare centers have closed their doors because of the pandemic. Many JCCs across the country have had to layoff off hundreds of employees. The Syracuse JCC has always managed with lean and efficient staffing, each staff member able to play many roles. We had no layoffs! Operating in the age of COVID-19 has been challenging. Yet there is hope. Our JCC finds itself with a solid fall enrollment of 137 early childhood students. Because of new COVID-19 capacity restrictions, our enrollment had to be decreased by 35 students which equates to more than a quarter of a million dollars of lost revenue.

As we head into the holidays, our building has slowly come back to life. Once again, we hear children and excitement in our hallways. Our new “Club J All Day” program for students who need a supervised setting to attend class remotely has been a blessing for many families. Our children’s gymnastics and other sports classes have been running smoothly this fall.

This end-of-year letter is especially important as we need your help now more than ever. The loss of revenue is astonishing. Whole income generating departments have disappeared, our largest fundraiser had to be postponed, memberships have dropped significantly and until we are on the other side of this pandemic, we are not able to recoup these losses. We are truly grateful for how our members and community have stood with us over the past eight months. And yet we are in a position of needing to ask for your help once again. We look to your generosity as we continue to safely serve our community and struggle to survive during this pandemic

Help us maintain our long tradition of serving the diverse needs of our community. You can be proud of how well we have adapted and feel assured that your generous donation will further positively impact many lives. Please make a tax-deductible contribution to the JCC today. Your end-of-year gift will help ensure that our essential programming and services continue moving forward during these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

Marci Erlebacher
Executive Director

Steven Sisskind
Board President

P.S. For your convenience, please download and complete this form (PDF, 388 KB) to submit your tax-deductible JCC contribution today!
Or donate securely online using a credit or debit card. Questions? Call us at 315-445-2360. Questions? Call us at 315-445-2360.

 

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