Oak Park May Lose Jewish Community Center, Meeting Jan 12

Oak Park May Lose Jewish Community Center, Meeting Jan 12chazzano game ad

(C. Proxmire, Jan. 5, 2015)

Oak Park could lose the Jewish Community Center, and a meeting has been set for Jan. 12 to give community members an opportunity to talk about it before it happens.

The center offers a gathering space for the community, a fitness club, kids camps and educational programs.

The announcement came out Monday, with the JCC of Metro Detroit stating “As you may be aware, our Jewish community is in the process of addressing a number of longstanding financial challenges at the JCC that surfaced in the Fall of 2013. At that time, an Oversight Committee Sahara ad with winecomprised of JCC and Jewish Federation leaders was formed to assess the financial condition of the JCC and oversee its operations. Subsequently, it was reported that the JCC had been operating for multiple years at an annual loss of roughly $1,000,000. It is clear that this ongoing loss is unsustainable and threatens the viability of the organization and its ability to serve our community.

“It is with this background in mind that we are inviting you to attend an open forum on January 12th, 2015 at 7 p.m. where a community discussion will be held concerning the anticipated recommendation of the Oversight Committee that the JCC cease its operations at the Jimmy Prentice Morris Building on the Oak Park Campus.Reid_Sally_115

“Please join the JCC and Jewish Federation lay and professional leadership for an open discussion on the important issues we are facing.”

The announcement also states that the group knows “that this is an exceptionally important and difficult issue,” adding “It is important to recognize that the JCC remains committed to serving the Jewish population in the Oak Park, Southfield and Huntington Woods areas. It will continue to fulfill its mission to support Jewish unity, ensure Jewish continuity and enrich Jewish life in this area as well as throughout the community. Regardless of seed017_darlene_bignottiany decision, many of its programs will continue, albeit in different locations.”

An additional info. page states the following:
Background:
Our Jewish community is in the process of reviewing and addressing a number of longstanding financial challenges at the JCC that surfaced in the Fall of 2013. At that time, a Financial Oversight Committee was formed to assess the financial condition of the JCC and oversee its operations. The Oversight Committee was comprised of both lay and professional representatives from the JCC and the Jewish Federation.

One of the first actions of the Oversight Committee was to hire an outside accounting firm, steele lindbloom adFinancial One Accounting, Inc., to fully examine the finances of the JCC in order to establish a reliable operational baseline. Early in 2014, Jim Issner was hired by the Oversight Committee as the Interim CEO of the JCC.

In the late spring, Mr. Issner and Financial One Accounting, Inc. reported that the JCC had been operating for multiple years at an annual loss of roughly $1,000,000, financed through unpaid vendors, lines of credit, deferred maintenance and the significant support of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit beyond its annual campaign allocation of $1.5 million dollars. In addition, Mr. Issner and Financial One reported that the JCC had accumulated a deficit of approximately $6,000,000.

Between January and May of 2014, the Federation provided to the JCC approximately $3.2 million dollars of additional support that was used to pay off all existing vendors, and otherwise lisa schmidt lawreduce the debt to approximately $2.6 million. At the same time, Mr. Issner, with the support of his staff, volunteers, donors and JCC Board, continued the operations of the JCC at a high level, running an outstanding JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest®,  summer day camp program and Childhood Development Center that have put the JCC on a track to break even operationally for the 2014/2015 fiscal year.

In the Fall of 2014, Mr. Issner and Financial One presented a 2015/2016 budget that, without the help of Maccabi, projected a loss of $1.2 Million Dollars.

Oak Park / JPM Financial Challenges:
The Oak Park JCC branch operates with an annual shortfall of between $800,000 and $1 million. Absent receiving a significant increase in its Federation allocation or additional annual Candlewickshop_May2014fundraising / donor support, this is unlikely to change.

Additional considerations involve the condition of the Oak Park facility itself. The building, constructed in 1956, currently has approximately $450,000 in deferred maintenance and repair needs, half of which will need to be addressed in the next year.

While the JCC does what it can to make the best use of the building, there are significant space limitations. Re-constructing, expanding or renovating the building to make it more serviceable will require a significant investment, which is financially impractical at this time.

As part of its charge, the Oversight Committee is prepared to make whatever recommendations are necessary to present a balanced budget for the JCC, including the closure of the JPM facility seed_Mayor_Marian_McClellanin Oak Park, at the end of the fiscal year, May 31, 2015.

The JCC remains committed to serving the Jewish population in the Oak Park, Southfield and Huntington Woods area and fulfilling its mission to support Jewish unity, ensure Jewish continuity and enrich Jewish life in this area, as well as throughout the community. While facilities-based programs, such as fitness and aquatics, would be most affected if the building were to no longer be part of the JCC, many of its programs will continue regardless of any decision, albeit in different locations. A complete transition plan will be developed if and when this decision moves forward.

Q and A:

Q: What is the extent of the Oak Park facility’s financial gallowaycollens1shortfall?
A: The Oak Park JCC branch operates with an annual shortfall of between $800,000 and $1 million.

Q: What other options have been considered to support the Oak Park facility?
A: Every option to reduce operating expenses has been explored, including program-by-program reviews and cost analyses. This also includes reducing operations or operating hours, and other service cutbacks.  None of those provided the savings required to keep the JCC sustainable.

Q: What would closing the facility mean for the community in Oak Park, royal_servicesSouthfield, and other areas? How else might the JCC serve this community?
A: Regardless of any decision, the Jewish community leadership are committed to continuing to serve the Jewish community residing in and around Oak Park and Southfield, as well as other emerging pockets of the Jewish community east of Woodward Avenue and Downtown.

As an agency providing programs and services to the community, the JCC is more than just its facilities. The JCC can, and currently does, to some degree, offer programs using other venues. This means offering many of its programs and services in alternative locations in the area, outside of a traditional JCC facility. In fact, this “mobile” concept is being piloted by other JCCs.

Q: Is closing the entire JCC being considered?seed94321Krzysiak
A: While we are exploring every option available to ensure its long-term health and viability, we are not considering closing the entire organization. The JCC remains a core institution and is central to the overall vibrancy of our Jewish community. It has thousands of users and continues to operate many successful activities and programs.

Q: If a decision were made to close the Oak Park facility, when might it happen?
A: The current proposal would have the building operate through the end of the fiscal year, May 31, 2015.  All events and activities are expected to continue without interruption through this gardenfreshADperiod.

Q: What happens next?
A: Following a formal recommendation from the Financial Oversight Committee, the JCC Board of Directors will vote on the question of ceasing to operate out of the Oak Park facility. Following this vote, the Jewish Federation Board of Directors will vote on the issue.  If the votes pass, and no viable solution for solving the ongoing financial shortfall is raised, the JCC will cease operating out of the Oak Park facility, by the end of the fiscal year, May 31, 2015. If the decision is made to close the Oak Park facility, a transition plan will be developed to ensure that programming and services, particularly those outside of facilities-based activities such as fitness and aquatics, continue for their users.

When: Monday, January 12th, 7PM
Where: Oak Park JCC (JPM) Prentis Social Hall

RSVP: jewishdetroit.org/jccrsvp

 

 

 

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