Community Briefing: An Update on the Oak Park JCC Facility.

March 5, 2015 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

An Update on the Oak Park JCC Facility.

As the situation regarding the Oak Park JCC facility progresses, we wanted to share the latest information with our community.

As has been reported earlier, the JCC faces a $1.3 million budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year. Significant efforts to close this budget deficit have and will continue to take place across the community. However, there have been no adequate solutions or funding sources identified beyond the recommendation, made by the Financial Oversight Committee earlier this year, that the JCC cease operating out of its Oak Park facility. This action will eliminate at least $800,000 in annual loss and would be a critical step—along with ongoing changes at the West Bloomfield facility—towards ensuring that the organization can continue serving our Jewish community. In addition, over the past two years, the combined boards of the Jewish Federation and United Jewish Fund have approved grants totaling $4.3 million, beyond the $1.5 million Annual Campaign allocation, to help resolve the financial crisis at the JCC.

In light of the recommendation, community leadership at the JCC, Federation and elsewhere, are now working on three parallel efforts:

1. Preparations for a transition of JCC programs and services, assuming it no longer operates out of the Oak Park facility after August 31. As a step in this process, votes were held this week by both the JCC and JFMD & UJC Boards approving the recommendation to cease operating out of the building by August 31, 2015 at the latest, assuming no adequate source of revenue is found to close the projected budget shortfall that threatens the viability of the JCC.
2. A grassroots effort to mobilize the community, seek funding and new memberships, and ensure that a voice is heard from local residents. The Jewish Federation and the JCC endorse this effort and have worked closely with leadership of the grassroots committee.

3. An open search and RFP (Request For Proposal) process to find new management for the facility. The objective of this search is to find an operator who will maintain an inclusive community facility that continues to serve the Jewish population in the area with programming by the JCC and other Jewish community organizations. An RFP will be shared this month, and hopefully a decision will be announced during the summer.
Both professional and lay leaders at the JCC and Federation clearly understand the emotional impact of the proposed changes, particularly to residents of Oak Park, Southfield, Huntington Woods and neighboring cities. Over many decades, the Jewish Federation has raised and distributed significant funds to support this vital and thriving area. While this is an extremely difficult process, both Federation and the JCC remain fully committed to continuing to serve the many diverse Jews in the area.

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone involved, in any capacity, for your continuing commitment and passion for our community and its organizations. Ours is among the most vibrant Jewish communities anywhere, and we will remain strong and united despite the changes—and challenges—that inevitably arise.

We will continue to keep you informed as new developments emerge.

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