*The following is the welcome presentation speech from the 2021 Tribute Gala last Sunday.*
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Professional staff of the Friedman JCC, I’d like to take this opportunity to honor Steve Davidowitz in our second Tribute Gala. We are all very thankful to those of you who were in attendance and to those of you who watched from home in this special event.
I have met and worked with many leaders and volunteers throughout my professional career and I can say that Steve Davidowitz is the most positive, modest, and soft-spoken yet highly motivated and detailed person I know. He routinely demonstrates sensitivity and respect to our donors and members. The Jewish Community is in a better position today because of Steve’s involvement and leadership.
I don’t have to tell you about the challenges we all faced this past year, but due to our wonderful staff and volunteers we were able to keep our doors open and provide the essential and needed services to our community. During these perplexing and difficult times we still managed to deliver quality assistance to our food pantry families, our congregant meal program participants in addition to providing outstanding care to all of our Illumination Early Learning Center families. In fact just last week we staged a year-ending pre-k graduation ceremony for 17 of our children moving on to kindergarten this fall. This Early Learning Center program is so successful that we are currently in the midst of further expanding our preschool by adding two additional classrooms and by accommodating an additional 30-40 more children for this upcoming fall.
In addition, I am happy to report that our Camp Director Doug Miller and his staff are placing the final touches to our JCC campsite and summer program, as we will welcome over 200 campers starting Monday. And thanks to the leadership of Senator Lisa Baker and State Representative Aaron Kaufer, we have received a million dollar RACP grant from the State to make much needed infrastructure improvements to our campsite.
You know, we have lots of reasons to be excited about our JCC! Our doors are open and our programs are back on track after this crazy year. I love being here as your CEO and am excited to work with our staff and volunteers to grow our membership, our activities and expand our service to the community. I want to express my sincerest thanks to our Gala Committee, our wonderful staff, to our sponsors and major donors, to the Woodlands, to Coal Creative, to Jim Brogna at Allied Services and to Steve and his wonderful and most charitable Davidowitz family for their ongoing support of the Friedman JCC and our community. Thank you all so very much!
Chief Executive Office