Member Communications 4 min read

For a Safe and Healthy New Year

By JCC Milwaukee December 31, 2020

New Year’s Wishes from the JCC

In the musical RENT, the ensemble opens the second act by asking “How do you measure a year?” This year, of all years, it may not be enough to measure in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee (and we’re almost positive this year has lasted a lot more than 525,600 minutes.)

As we sit down to write this message to you, our community, we could take a lot of approaches. We could celebrate the moments of joy that we built together in the face of historic challenges. We could honestly confront the real and lasting impact this pandemic has placed on our JCC community. We could honor the friends and neighbors who have personally experienced the devastation of this illness – in their own health and the health of the world around them.

What if, instead, we talked about our own second act?

Yes, since March of 2020 JCC membership has decreased to almost half its pre-pandemic strength. Classes and programs closed for months, only to reopen in smaller numbers and greater obstacles. Camps were suspended, events were cancelled, futures were put on hold.

But, also since March? We invested deeply in serving at-risk communities through virtual and at-home programming. We created programs to support working families in changing school environments. We met our members’ needs as we remodeled day camp, invested in facilities, innovated fitness experiences, rethought aquatics, and – at every step of the way – prioritized community health.

If these past nine months have been a first act of conflict, maybe we’ve reached intermission and find ourselves with the opportunity to take a breath, stretch our legs, and get back in the room ready for what’s next. With all due respect to Fitzgerald (who, in fact, has been misquoted on this subject!) we reject the idea there are no second acts in America. In fact, we’re pretty sure we’re capable of our greatest work yet.

We don’t know what the coming year will look like, how difficult the road may be, or how long it will take to get to where we want to be. But we do know that we’re not working on getting ‘back to normal.’ That would do this past year a disservice and, much as we might want to throw 2020 out and never think about it again, we owe this community more than that. We have to learn from this year, grow from our experiences, and make good on every investment and contribution in our effort to build For a Strong JCC.

That’s what our campaign is all about, building towards our next act of serving you and the ever-changing needs of our entire community. Through partnership, discipline, innovation, and our shared values, we’ve never been more confident that we can get there. Thank you for your support, your ideas, your ongoing contributions and participation.

How will we measure the coming year? What will the story of 2021 be? How do we make our next ‘act’ even stronger than the first?

We believe that’s entirely up to us – and we’re full of optimism for what lies ahead knowing that we’ll get there together.

Wishing your family a safe and healthy New Year,

Nancy Kennedy Barnett
Chair, JCC Board of Directors

Mark Shapiro
President & Chief Executive Officer