This year has been anything but normal. Martin Pear JCC on the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus (“The J”) is announcing their Standing Strong Together NonEvent as a one-of-a-kind fundraising initiative that takes the place of the annual in-person gala customarily held in early December.
Due to COVID-19, The J is forgoing its standard gala and asking the community not to dress up, not to hire a babysitter, and not to leave the comfort of home. In exchange, through December 5, the community can learn all about how The J has been providing assistance for Scottsdale as well as the surrounding area and those who are interested can support The J’s mission at vosjcc.org/2020nonevent. Donations will go even farther this year as 100% of each gift will directly impact the Martin Pear JCC on the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus since there are no overhead costs for an in-person event. Thanks to a group of anonymous donors, all gifts will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000.
For decades, The J has been serving the community through a variety of programs and services. During COVID, innovation and nimbleness are paramount as the pandemic has forced the agency to pivot and navigate a full closure followed by a partial closure and then a reopening, all while it continues to provide vital support to the community. From an exemplary preschool program and Kids Club for members as young as 6 weeks, to ongoing camp and youth programs such as Shemesh Camp at The J, Camp in a Box (bringing camp to kids’ homes), and Club J All Day (The J’s response to COVID-19 and online learning requirements) where there is community need for parents and families, The J is there.
Through the launch of a virtual program platform called J at Home (vosjcc.org/jathome) in direct response to COVID, more than 500 programs have been brought to the community across diverse areas such as fitness, adult and cultural, sports and recreation, and many others. The J has also incurred significant expense in reopening to ensure the safety and health of members and staff. With more than $200,000 invested in reopening, a $6,000 weekly expense for enhanced sanitizing, $13,000 in plexiglass dividers for the cardio area, and a variety of other related costs, The J is focused on doing the right thing for those we serve and that includes enforcing the mask mandate.
“Everything The J does is for the betterment of our community,” says Jay Jacobs, chief executive officer of the Martin Pear JCC and the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus. “Our mission is all about building community and even though COVID threw us a significant curveball this year, I have been amazed by how the staff have risen to the occasion and continued to keep our members and the community at the forefront of everything we do. Whether virtual or in-building, we always say ‘You belong here.’ Connection, community and remaining healthy are now more important than ever.”
The J has recently entered phase 3 in their reopening plan. With that comes more in-building programs and services such as youth basketball clinics, personal training and pickleball, all with strict health protocols. However, importantly, The J also recognizes the increased financial need of our community especially in the COVID-era.
“During COVID, The J has seen a significant increase in requests for financial assistance related to preschool and camp as our community navigates through this unprecedented time,” says Adam Brooks, Chairman of the Board for Martin Pear JCC. “It is an honor to be able to assist those in need gain access to programming and services that allow parents to remain at work and kids to build connections at a time that is anything but normal. The Standing Strong Together Non-Event will ensure The J remains a strong and vibrant part of our community for decades to come. I truly appreciate the spirit of generosity I continue to witness.”