Message from the President and CEO

Published Saturday, June 1, 2019

A Message From the President/CEO Saul F. Levenshus

By Saul F. Levenshus, President/CEO

As I reflect back on another outstanding program year for the JCC, I’m reminded that very few things in life come easy.

Success requires commitment, hard work, and just the right amount of luck.  The JCC is fortunate to have a strong team of professional staff and volunteer leadership who remain focused on ensuring that each day, when the community enters our building, their experience that particular day will allow them to feel a little bit better than they did when they arrived.

Many arrive to participate in one of the various fitness and recreation activities we offer each day, and other than the aches and pains that may accompany regular physical activity, for the most part, we do feel better for having pushed ourselves to complete our routine. The JCC’s plans for a future expansion are intended to ensure that we are positioned to continue to provide these services in the first-rate manner that each member deserves for years to come.

2019 has been another spectacular year of entertainment and enrichment for our Arts & Culture programs. We enjoyed another outstanding Vexler Theatre season, currently wrapping up with “Cabaret”, which coincidentally sold out causing us to add two more shows. And, our Annual Jewish Film Festival, which continues to draw diverse audiences year in and year out, has prompted our committee to explore new ways to expand participation. Beginning later this month, we will host our first Mini-Festival to be held at the Quarry Regal Theatre on Sunday June 30. See details on page 9. Another one-day Mini-Fest will follow at the Quarry in September; and in February, we will unveil our new three-day Jewish Film Festival format. These outstanding programs are complemented throughout the year by a series of additional Arts & Culture experiences including our Distinguished Author events, a San Antonio Symphony event, and of course, our Children & Youth STARZ and NOVA performances.

Our Children & Youth programs continue to provide quality services and care. From the youngest child in our Block and Dreeben School for Young Children to the elementary age children who participate in our Kids Club Afterschool program and our outstanding summer J-Camps, the JCC provides a safe and enriching environment year-round to support children and families.

Of course, serving adults as they age remains one of our highest priorities. Whether we are serving daily meals or transporting seniors to and from the JCC, to the grocery store, or to medical appointments, providing seniors with the opportunities to remain active and engaged is part of the daily routine at the JCC. And in the coming year, we hope expand our offerings to adults here at the Campus in collaboration with our sister agencies San Antonio Jewish Senior Services, Jewish Family Service, and the Jewish Federation. We’ll have more information to share in the coming months.

As wonderful as the past year has been, as I said from the outset, very few things in life come easy. And, therefore, I would be remiss if I didn’t share with great angst and disappointment, the recent decision by the United Way Trustees and its Partners for Community Change Coordinating Committee, to alter the way the United Way invests in its Partner Agencies. For the JCC, this decision will eliminate $315,000 in support funding that will likely impact some of the Early Childhood, Children and Youth, and Senior Adult Services outlined above.

This massive loss of funding in one year will clearly create a challenge for the JCC (along with many other community non-profit agencies) unlike anything we have experienced in nearly two decades. As a result, the JCC will need to consider alternative ways to generate revenue. And, as I started out mentioning the efforts and wisdom represented by our wonderful team of professional staff and volunteer leadership, I want to reassure you, our members and our community, that the JCC remains fully committed to identifying the resources necessary to continue providing the same high quality programs and services that our community has come to expect from us.

On behalf of our Board and staff, thank you for your commitment to the JCC, we truly appreciate the opportunity to serve you and we’re glad you belong here!


President & CEO