Reflecting on the Boulder JCC’s Reflections and JFest

By Susan Rona

As the first chair of Reflections, the Boulder JCC’s annual gala fundraiser, 14 years ago, I had no idea that I was embarking on a lifelong relationship for myself and my family with a Boulder institution. We have been woven into all parts of the J – from our home on Kalmia to the beautiful campus on Cherryvale. The truth of it is – for me, it was never about a building – but about what happens inside its walls. Through my involvement with the J, I found my people. A place where my family and I belong, a place of connection and caring. I continue to stay involved with both my time and money because I believe in investing in the J, the institution, the staff, and everyone connected with it. It makes me proud to be a part of the Boulder JCC and to know the staff and community. It is rare to find a school, gathering place, farm, rental facility, host of Zoom programming – that truly lives its values and is transparent about those values.

I have worked with the J as the first chair of Reflections, Board Chair, Capital Campaign Co-Chair, and as a staff member. This year, I have been chairing JFest: The Boulder JCC’s February Fundraiser Reimagined and helping the J to reimagine our annual fundraiser. I have seen firsthand that the J values things that I value – transparency, leadership in challenging times, authenticity, and family. 

The J is a constant in our community. When the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office was looking for a place to hold a conversation about our community’s response to hate crimes, the J was there; when the 9Health Fair was looking for a location during COVID, the J was there; when I needed the best preschool in town for my daughter (now 16), the J was there; when addressing food insecurity in Boulder, the J was there with over 3,000 pounds of fresh produce; and as a community partner for food, blood, and clothing drives, the J was there. The list goes on. 

That is why I give. I believe in the mission, the people, and our community and I know that, even without an in-person gala event, the J still needs our support. 

There is a quote from Margaret Mead that I always went back to on challenging days when I thought we would never leave Kalmia and the new building was only a dream. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I think of this quote differently now, as I look at the collective impact of what is now a large group of people and how the J with our support continues to change our little corner of the world. 

Please join me on February 23 and 24 for the JCC’s fundraising drive. All donations will be matched up to $100,000. I hope that together, we can make this our most successful fundraiser.

About Kai Murga Canales

Kai Murga-Canales is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Boulder JCC. Originally from Miami, Kai moved to Boulder from Atlanta, where he worked for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and Limmud Atlanta + Southeast.

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