Centennial Capital Campaign

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 disability 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; tbustow@jccgw.org

Centennial Capital Campaign Leadership

Jodi and Scott Cohen, General Campaign Chairs
Campaign Co-Chairs

Wendi and Daniel Abramowitz
Heidi and Michael Brodsky
Jessica and Andy Chod
Eve and Andy M. Stern
Robin and Matthew Weinberg

Honorary Chairs

The Bender Family

Barbara Bender
Howard M. Bender Z”L
Julie Bender Silver and David Silver
Nanette and David S. Bender
Michelle and Jason Belinkie
Jena Belinke Riley and Chris Riley
Eileen and Richard Greenberg

The Gildenhorn/Speisman/Winer Families

Alma and The Honorable Joseph B. Gildenhorn
Cathy and Michael Gildenhorn
Blanche Speisman
Brenda and Robert Speisman
Leslie and Dennis Speisman
Stephanie and Ian Speisman
Carol and Michael Winer

Jerome A. and Deena L. Kaplan Family Foundation

Deena and Jerome Kaplan
Karen Kaplan

Carol and Gary Berman
Paul Berger
Martha and Stuart Bindeman
Gail and Paul Chod
Lorraine and Robert “Bobby” Cohen
Marcy and Neil Cohen
Carole and Barry Forman
Harriet and Greg Friedman
Norma Lee and Morton Funger
Sheila and Sy Herman
Kerry Iris and Eric Kassoff
Phyllisz”l and Philip Margolius
Amy and Alan Meltzer
John VerStandig and family
Janyse and Bernie Weisz


Norma and Dean Eisen
The Honorable Stuart Eizenstat
Janice and The Hon. Brian Feldman
Molly Meegan and Abbe David Lowell
Robyn and Steven Lustig
Barbara and Robert Phillips
Terry and Howard Ross
Sarah and Devin Schain
Jennifer and Neal Simon
Selma and Harvey Sweetbaum
Robin B. Taub


Gilly Arie
Mindy Berger
Brent Berger
Rob Black
Nathan Bortnick
Andrew Bridge
Monique Buckles
Robert Epstein
Brian Gaines
The Hon. Doug Gansler
Felicia Gottdenker
Amy Guberman
Neil Gurvitch
Holli Beckerman Jaffe
Robyn Judelsohn
Randi Meyrowitz
Brian Pearlstein
Arthur Polott
Adam Polsky
Helen Rubin
Andrew Sachs
Tracy Bloom Schwartz
Reed Sexter
Darryl Shrock
Andy Shulman
Brad Stillman
David Waghelstein
The Hon. Jeffrey Waldstreicher
Samantha Wasserman
Sharon Zissman