In April, the Jewish Federation Board and committed donors celebrated that we are starting construction on the next phase of our 21st century campus–the Larry & Mary Greenspon Family Campus for Jewish Life! Together, we said a shehachianu, the traditional prayer for marking an important milestone.
We were carried through many COVID and supply chain delays by the vision, passion and generosity of this Jewish community’s leaders. I am grateful for the diligent work of our Board and recent Board presidents, including Randon Carvel, Michael Ritter and Patti Wertheimer. They devised creative campus concepts in collaboration with my predecessor, Howard Tevlowitz, Chief Operating Officer Kim Adler and the Federation professional staff.
In Cincinnati, I had the honor of coordinating the capital fund drive and campus design for a community campus that became the heart of the community. That campus nourished countless friendships and memories and gave purpose to thousands. I am confident that our campus will enrich thousands of lives in ways we can’t fully imagine. As our Board President Bruce Udel says, our new Campus will make our future greater than our past.
Researching and Planning for Financial Sustainability
Shaping the vision for a community campus requires deciphering our community’s priority needs today and for decades to come, and then developing business plans to ensure that we can operate whatever we build in a financially sustainable way. To understand our local demographics, our Jewish Federation hired Brandeis University in 2019 to perform the first demographic study in 18 years. The Study found that many local Jewish people have no connection to any local Jewish organization, even though most said they want to be connected. Since fewer than 20% of our community members belong to a local synagogue, and we no longer have an independent Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation has a vast responsibility to design a campus that offers diverse ways to connect.
Building a Campus in Phases
Recently, the Federation Board approved starting construction on the next phase, which will only include facilities that meet the Board’s criteria. Those criteria include ensuring that the majority of the funds needed for the construction of the facility have already been raised and that we have completed rigorous business plans that demonstrate financial sustainability.
So far, three facilities have met these demanding criteria. They include the Morganroth Event Center, which will house the Dee and Arny Kaplan Community Hall, the Mitchell Family Welcome Center and the Epstein Family Chuppah. They also include Chaifetz Holocaust Memorial Gardens and the Ritter Wolk Security Center. We hope to have all of these completed and open by next spring. Now we are finalizing the business plan to launch Camp Marci Lynn in the summer of 2023.
Segmenting the Campus project into phases means that even as we start construction, there are opportunities for creative and passionate supporters to help us shape the next phases. As we move forward we will have more milestones and opportunities for participation and celebration.
We will keep you up to date on our progress. If you would like a hard-hat tour or want to learn more about being a part of the transformation of our campus, please contact me