For 125 years, the JCC has operated as one of the region’s most visible social service, recreational, and educational organizations. The 33,000 people passing through our doors each year are welcomed regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or special need. Inspired by Jewish values, we value the mosaic of the community we serve under our communal tent.
On March 14, 2020, the JCC was at an apex in its 125-year history.
JCC membership was at an all-time high and our financial health was excellent, having worked through financial challenges that had threatened our viability 20 years earlier. We were providing $3.4 million a year in financial assistance—14% of our annual operating budget—enabling many to participate in the essential programs and services that the JCC provides.
On March 15, 2020 that success came crashing down without warning.
• 80% of our operating revenue was frozen in place.
• The crisis forced a large scale temporary reduction in workforce to reduce operating expenses.
• Even with staff reduction and other cost saving measures, the JCC is set to incur an estimated operating deficit in the range of $4.5-$6 million over 18 months due to fixed costs of maintaining and securing physical assets, retaining an essential workforce continuing life sustaining services, and reopening services at reduced capacity during the duration of the pandemic. From the moment of closure, the JCC integrated the drastic financial and operational changes brought about by the crisis with needed services to a community struggling with the fallout of the pandemic.
The JCC pivoted in real time and provided life-sustaining programs.
• Since our congregant meal program was closed on March 15, we have provided more than 25,000 Grab & Go and home-delivered individually prepared and wrapped meals for seniors.
• When planned blood donation drives were canceled, the JCC hosted 50 blood drives in Squirrel Hill and South Hills, helping more than 3,100 patients.
• When in-person programs were canceled, the JCC made more than 8,200 Telephone Wellness Checks to isolated seniors.
• When summer schools were canceled, the JCC distributed more than 15,040 meals to children, serving a much larger population than in previous years.
• When schools remained closed during the fall, the JCC developed the All Day at the J program to support working families.
• While our gym facilities were closed, we helped our members maintain their fitness through a new service of LIVE Virtual Group Exercise and Senior Fitness classes (currently 54 classes/week)
All the while, with the health and safety of our community the JCC’s top priority, the JCC continues to monitor federal, state and local guidelines and work closely with long-time partner, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, for continued guidance.
To prepare for reopening in June, the JCC:
• Developed robust cleaning and sanitation practices and safety protocols for entering the building.
• Creatively reconfigured reuse of spaces indoors and outside as well as programming to allow for safe social distancing.
• Provided face shields for staff, thermometers for testing, obtained masks for distribution, and created 50 disinfection/sanitation stations.
As state and local guidelines have allowed, the JCC has resumed on-site programming at its Squirrel Hill, South Hills and Monroeville sites including: “Walk in to work out,” lap swimming, swim lessons, Early Childhood Development Center, day camps, All Day at the J, pop-in fitness and personal training.
We are prepared to meet the challenges of this ever-changing environment with vigilance, creativity and flexibility so as to continue serving a community in desperate need of support and connection.
These first phases of re-opening still leave core services on hold or modified.
Overnight camp was canceled; teens can’t hang out at the JCC’s The Second Floor; senior adults cannot reenter our senior center; AA and other support groups cannot yet meet at the JCC in person; Special Olympics and other programs for physically and intellectually challenged
children and adults cannot take place in our facility.
We aspire to be the best possible version of our community’s Town Square, to provide life sustaining
support, meaning and enrichment during the good times and the bad, now and for generations to come.
We look forward to the day when we are able to fully actualize our mission.
We look to you to help us Recover, Rebuild and Restore.
For questions: Please contact Fara Marcus