New Director of Inclusion

Bender JCC of Greater Washington Hires New Director of Inclusion

Katherine Falls will expand the Bender JCC’s commitment to belonging and inclusion.


Rockville, MD, May 25, 2023 – The Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington is pleased to announce it has hired Katherine Falls as Director of Inclusion following a national search. Kate will begin her new position on Monday, June 19, 2023.

“The Bender JCC aspires to be an inclusive community where individuals with disabilities of all ages and their families can fully participate year-round,” said Josh Bender, CEO of the Bender JCC. “Kate Falls is an outstanding addition to our community and will be crucial in guiding our vision for inclusion. I am grateful to the Search Committee for their key role in the hiring process. I wholeheartedly welcome Kate to the Bender JCC and support her as she embarks on this vital role.”

Fall’s career in disability inclusion encompasses more than eight years of experience in various community centers and disability functional areas, including academic intervention, behavior management, and communication skills. Before joining the Bender JCC’s full-time professional staff, Kate was a Head Inclusion Counselor at Lessans Camp JCC and Assistant Inclusion Director for J Camps in Greater Baltimore.

“Everyone deserves access to their community, which is why the Bender JCC’s commitment to inclusion is so important,” said Kate Falls. “I am so excited to join the Bender JCC’s incredible team full-time to support this mission and carry on a legacy of inclusion and belonging.”

Kate will spearhead a three-year strategic plan to expand inclusion at the Bender JCC, which includes:

  • Deepening the culture of inclusion among the Bender JCC’s professional staff
  • Convening and collaborating with an inclusion advisory council
  • Conducting an audit of inclusion programs at the Bender JCC
  • Supporting the professional staff in creating disabilities education and programming
  • Identifying and filling gaps in inclusion programming and unmet needs for the disabilities inclusion community.
  • Expanding partner relationships and forging new collaborations with organizations committed to inclusion work

Kate will join the Bender JCC’s senior management team, reporting to Chief Program Officer Susan Fischer, who led the job search committee, which included Bender JCC staff and lay leaders. The overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from the Bender JCC’s professional staff and lay leaders who met Kate during the search process speaks to the strength of her candidacy and readiness to lead this work.

“Kate understands the Bender JCC’s culture of inclusion, and she knows what real inclusion looks like,” said Sara Portman Milner, the Co-Founder and Director of Sunflower Bakery — an inclusive workforce-training organization guided by Jewish values — and former Director of Lessans Camp JCC. “Kate is ready to hit the ground running. She’s prepared to do the work, garner support, and to re-open opportunities for individuals of all ages, with a wide range of disabilities, who want to come back ‘home’ to the Bender JCC.”

As Director of Inclusion, Kate will inherit and steward the Bender JCC’s legacy of belonging. In 1979, the Bender JCC founded its “Inclusion Program” to help create a more welcoming community for individuals of all abilities, backgrounds, and identities. Along those lines, Lessans Camp JCC has, for decades, welcomed campers with disabilities to experience an enriching and nurturing summer at camp alongside neurotypical campers.

“Every individual can bring their whole self to the Bender JCC as we understand that a person’s differences and unique gifts make our community stronger,” said Josh Bender. “But the process of building an inclusive community is never complete; there will always be needs to address, and we recognize that the work of inclusion belongs to all of us.”

About the Bender JCC:

The Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville, Maryland is a premier community center at the heart of Jewish life in Montgomery County, Maryland, operating a full-scale health and fitness center, preschool, day camp, and various education and arts programs. We create a welcoming and inclusive environment, connecting the people of our Jewish community, Israel, and the broader community. We inspire individuals of all ages and backgrounds to enhance their social, physical, intellectual, and spiritual well-being through programs of excellence rooted in Jewish values.

About Kate Falls:

Katherine Falls is a passionate professional who has worked in the disability community for eight years. Katherine received her bachelor’s degree in special education from Towson University. She has passions for accessibility, family support and education, and supporting behaviors.

About Director of Inclusion:

The Bender JCC’s Director of Inclusion is responsible for the inclusive programming and administration for children and adults at the Bender JCC including our Lessans Camp JCC inclusion program.