The party hats are still on at the Boulder JCC, not from celebrating New Year’s Eve, but because the Cornerstone Capital Campaign has reached its pre-construction goal of raising the $18 million needed to construct the new building.
“We hit our goal with the incredible participation of 715 families, individuals and foundations,” an ebullient Jonathan Lev announced. The executive director of the Boulder JCC, Lev has spent the last few months eagerly anticipating that the final donations would be made to meet the December 31st deadline for a matching grant from the Sturm Family Foundation (with the participation of ANB Bank). Ever optimistic, Lev was nevertheless visibly relieved to have good news to share and excited by the Boulder Jewish community’s accomplishment.
Hitting the $18 million goal is a landmark in a number of ways, Lev points out. It is the single largest capital campaign in Jewish Colorado history, and may be the largest non-university, non-hospital capital campaign in Boulder’s history.
For many families, the gift they made to the Cornerstone Capital Campaign is the largest donation they have ever made, and for some their first donation to a Jewish organization.
We had multi-generational giving, right down to our Kids Campaign,” Lev says. “Parents and grandparents of Boulder families who don’t even live here gave because they want their grandchildren to grow up with the JCC experience and opportunity they had.”
The strong leadership of campaign co-chairs Susan Rona, Scott Peppet, and Kellie Zell was critical to its success, Lev emphasizes.
“They have created a legacy for Boulder that demonstrates the vibrant nature of Jewish life in Boulder,” Lev explains. “I am also so grateful that Butch Weaver and Francine Lavin Weaver – as the Weaver Family Foundation – had the foresight to purchase the property that was later donated to us by Butch’s Oreg Foundation. It has been gratifying to witness the collaborative efforts of so many people over many years leading to this moment. We are making a strong statement to the entire community about the value of the JCC and the power of philanthropy.”
Despite having reached its pre-construction goal, fundraising will continue throughout the construction phase, albeit in a scaled-back fashion.
“We know that there are members of the community who have not yet participated and who are waiting to see the bulldozers start digging,” Peppet says. “Their support will be crucial both for the building and for the JCC’s operations as it scales up its programs in its new facility.”
The JCC and the Oreg Foundation are now focused on working with the City of Boulder to move the project through the City approval process. Construction will begin as soon as permits are issued, possibly this summer. Construction is expected to take a year.
“This is a long and complex process,” says Susan Rona, President of the JCC’s Board. “It won’t happen overnight — in fact, we’ve been in the process with the City for about nine months already. There are lots of complexities to a project of this size, but we are confident that the City understands the significant community benefit that a JCC provides and that we can move through the process relatively quickly throughout the spring.”