|February 20, 2009/Shevat
26 5769, Volume 61, No. 22|
|Barness Family JCC ends membership fees |
|The Barness Family
Jewish Community Center in Chandler has eliminated its membership
The BFJCC determined that the membership fees -
which had been required to attend the center's preschool, day school
and camp - were a barrier to people participating in JCC
programs, according to Meg Gabay, BFJCC marketing
"In this economy, we wanted to be able to continue
to offer the high-quality programs and opportunities to all families
in the East Valley, without these economic barriers," Gabay told
Jewish News in an e-mail.
Members were notified in August
2008 that membership fees would be eliminated as of Jan. 1, 2009,
and were given the choice to apply the balance to their account,
receive a reimbursement or donate the balance to the JCC, Gabay
To not have to pay the membership fee "is a tremendous
financial relief," said Ilana Sims of Gilbert, whose daughters,
Katie, 9, and Ellie, 5, attend the center's camp. Both girls
previously attended the school, and she said the JCC "is like a
"We love going there for any programs that they
have," she said, and "being a single parent, I still want to be able
to send my kids to a Jewish camp."
Annual membership fees
ranged from $50 for seniors and $150 for individuals to $250 for
couples, $300 for a single parent family and $425 for a
This was in addition to registration and tuition
fees. An average of 500 families participate in the center's
preschool, day school and camp, Gabay said.
At the time the
BFJCC eliminated its membership fees, it had 250-300 members, and
membership fees made up only about 1 percent of the center's annual
budget, according to Executive Director Steve Tepper. Additional
funds will be raised through an annual campaign that started last
month and event-based fundraising, he said.
"We don't plan a
reduction in service related to the elimination of the membership
fee. ... We plan on offering all the same services and hopefully
more to a broader audience. The more people we can engage, the
better off our community will be."
About 16 percent of the
Valley's Jewish population lives in the area served by the BFJCC,
which includes Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe and the Ahwatukee
section of Phoenix, according to the Jewish population study
conducted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix in 2002, the
latest data available.
This translates to 7,200 Jewish
households, according to Fred Zeidman, assistant executive director
of the federation.
A large number of these families are
unaffiliated, intermarried or both, said Tepper, and although the
financial requirement may not have been a burden on them, membership
was another barrier that they had to cross in order to participate
in a Jewish program. "We wanted to eliminate those
All JCC programs - which include a
preschool, a day school, summer camp and programs for children,
adults and families - are open to community members regardless
of religious affiliation. The JCC is located at 908 N. Alma School
Call 480-897-0588, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit evjcc.org.