A big congratulations on being named President of JCCA’s Board of Trustees. How did your election come about?
I’ve been on the Board since 2010, including on the Executive Committee, and involved as a volunteer even longer. My family has a history with JCCA dating back to before I was even born. I was ready to step up when the Presidency became vacant.
This in an exciting time for JCCA, as we come off our 200th anniversary year and set the stage to carry our work into a third century. What aims do you have for your term as Board President?
My first aim is to help Ron and those in leadership any way I can––it’s really the CEO and executive team who establish JCCA’s guiding policy. But I do have a few priorities in mind. For starters, I hope to push the Capital Campaign forward and generate enthusiasm about our plans to reimagine the Pleasantville campus. And now that we’re in a less dire situation with respect to COVID, I’d like to reengage the Board by creating opportunities to come together in person and build a deeper sense of connection—with each other and with our programs, staff, and clients. I also think it’s important to consider new ways of putting JCCA on the map publicly––expanding our profile, communicating about our very diverse array of services. Lastly, because I remain very active as a campus volunteer, I’ll continue serve as the Board’s eyes and ears on all things Pleasantville.
You’re also a co-chair of the Capital Campaign. Can you say more about how that began and where it’s going?
The Pleasantville Campus is a unique and historic place, and its work remains vitally important. As JCCA’s 200th anniversary approached, there was a recognition that some of the facilities lagged behind the times. Many cottages need repairs, and the medical building is not up to contemporary standards. If we want the campus to thrive for another hundred years, we need to reinvest. Pleasantville was an innovative and trend-setting facility when it opened in 1912. It continues to provide innovative and ground breaking services. We want to put the facilities ahead of the curve again, too
Because I’ve been involved on campus for a long time, I was asked to co-chair the Campaign in 2020, and the ball started rolling right away. We had big ideas, but we needed to assess if they were feasible. Once it was determined an ambitious renovation was realistic, I became very enthusiastic.
Can you give a sense of what the renovation will entail?
I’m especially excited about the new Health and Wellness Center. The existing building was just not constructed with modern medical and therapeutic practices in mind. The new Center will include spaces for medical services, individual and group therapy, and more. The idea is not just to meet medical necessity but foster overall wellness and quality of life. Our kids have not had it easy, and they deserve all the resources that can help them heal and flourish. We also want to attract and retain the best possible professional staff. The hope is that the new Center will be a space that both residents and staff actively want to be in.
Anything else you’d like to add?
As I’ve discussed before, my birth mom was taken care of by JCCA, and my mother-in-law was taken care of by JCCA too, so for me this is personal. There was a safety net there for them when they needed it, and it’s our mission to make sure that net is still in place for the generations ahead of us, for kids who often have nowhere else to go.