What Does the Future Hold?

What Does the Future Hold?
By Steve Albert

Happy New Year! The start of a new year is a time both to reflect on the year that just ended as well as to establish goals and resolutions for the year ahead. At the MJCC, this is a particularly exciting time as we plan for the future of our organization in two important ways.

A New Strategic Plan

In 2021, the J’s Board of Directors engaged in a review of our Business Model to better understand how to be a financially sustainable organization in the post-COVID era. In 2022, the Board developed a new Strategic Plan to identify key strategic priorities. Our plan is to focus our resources on several areas where we believe the J can truly excel in its service to our community. At the present time, we are finalizing our action steps and tactics, and we look forward to sharing the new strategic plan with the community in February. There are two key takeaways that we can share at this time.

First, based on feedback from staff, members, and the wider community, it is clear that we need a heightened focus on the programs and services that we provide to youth and young families. In the coming year or two, you should expect to see an expansion of our day camp program, our other youth programs, our special events for families, and our outreach to and engagement with young families, in a variety of ways.

Second, our fitness, aquatics, and recreation programs remain extremely important to our members and are the primary reason why individuals and families choose to join the J. We want to ensure that our facilities meet your needs, and we’ve already begun significant updates to our Fitness Center thanks to a generous gift from Ralph Miller in memory of his wife, Sandi. Just as important, however, is ensuring that all of our wellness programs are welcoming and inclusive for everyone. Regardless of your age, fitness level, health, body type, race, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, etc., we are committed to ensuring that the J is a comfortable place for you to workout, swim, join classes, play sports, and socialize.

A New Campus Plan

In order to address some of our strategic priorities, we will need to enhance our facility by repurposing, renovating and/or expanding some areas of the building. We began the preliminary process of developing a comprehensive campus plan in 2019, and the process was put on hold in mid-2020 due to the COVID pandemic. We are excited finally kick-off the development of the plan, in earnest, in late January. Our Design Team includes architects from Portland-based Opsis Architecture and Chicago-based 180 Studio. Both agencies have worked extensively with community centers and schools and are well-positioned to lead the effort to envision the future of the Schnitzer Family Campus.

The process will begin with an Insight Week during which the Design Team will be observing the ways in which we utilize the various spaces on our campus and engaging with various constituencies though conversations and design workshops. The work will continue over the next seven months, and we expect to have a final Campus Plan Report to share with the community by the end of the summer.

It’s exciting to think about the future, and we look forward to working with you to shape the future of the MJCC together!