PRESS RELEASE: The JCC of Greater Washington Receives $6.25 Million Naming Gift from the Sondra & Howard Bender Family
Rockville, MD –The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington has a new name!
It’s official. What began as the Jewish Community Center of the District of Columbia and was renamed the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington over 50 years ago will now be named the Bender JCC of Greater Washington (Bender JCC), as the result of a $6.25 million gift from the Sondra and Howard Bender family to name the JCC and its early childhood center.
The name change comes as a part of the Center’s Centennial Capital Campaign which was launched at its 100th anniversary celebration in 2013 and became public in the spring of 2015. When the campaign’s initial planning goal of $10 million was reached, the goal was increased to $12 million. With this gift from the Bender Foundation, the campaign has reached $15.7 million.
“The Bender family has had an incredible long-term impact on the JCC and the Greater Washington Jewish community through their volunteer and philanthropic leadership,” says President and CEO Michael Feinstein. “This transformational gift takes the campaign to a level that was unimaginable when we started planning over three years ago. We have already accomplished so much more than we thought possible. Our goal now is to raise an additional $2 million to complete the remaining critical priorities including an inclusive playground for the Center and broader community, an expansion of the indoor pool complex to include a therapy/training pool, and a much-needed updating of our lobby with a new café.”
This is the largest single gift that the Bender Foundation has made to date. According to Julie Bender Silver, “We felt that this gift was the perfect way to honor our parents’ legacy. From our earliest days, they taught us what giving back to our community looked like. Our family has had a long-time strong connection with the JCCGW, particularly in the areas of programming for families with young children and supporting Camp JCC’s special needs inclusion program. We are thrilled to play a role in providing our community with a modern, state-of-the-art JCC to support its exceptional programming that meets so many community needs.”
The JCC remains open while phase 2 of the campaign renovations is underway. Phase 2 includes the creation of a new entrance to the Bender Early Childhood Center as well as its lower level, and renovation of the indoor pool and adult locker rooms. Completion of the work in the Bender ECC is expected in time for school to open in August, and the indoor pool and locker rooms are expected to be complete in mid-September.
Bender JCC Board Chair Lisie Gottdenker remarked, “We could not be more grateful to the Bender family and the entire community for their support of the JCC throughout this campaign. The Bender’s leadership and gift will allow our renovated building to be a hub for enriching Jewish life for decades to come.”
Campaign and construction updates can be found at jccgw.org/newJ. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in late September 2016.
Media Inquiries: Treva Bustow, Bender JCC Chief Marketing Officer; 301-348-3750; firstname.lastname@example.org
Centennial Capital Campaign Leadership
Jodi and Scott Cohen, General Campaign Chairs
Wendi and Daniel Abramowitz
The Bender Family
The Gildenhorn/Speisman/Winer Families
Alma and The Honorable Joseph B. Gildenhorn
Jerome A. and Deena L. Kaplan Family Foundation
Deena and Jerome Kaplan
Carol and Gary Berman
Norma and Dean Eisen