money to represent JCC finances

“We’ve been in the black for two years and we expect to remain in the black for the foreseeable future,” Jewish Community Center CEO Brian Siegel said.

Brian SiegelPhoto Credit: John Hardwick discusses JCC finances
Brian Siegel
Photo Credit: John Hardwick

The operational gap was closed at first when the JCC in Oak Park was shuttered in 2015. The controversial and “heartbreaking decision” saved $800,000 annually toward a $1 million annual loss that was adding to a balance sheet deficit that had been on the books for many years. Siegel asserts that if the community had not made this decision, the JCC would have been forced to shut down all of its operations.

“When JPM closed, the JCC got much closer to breaking even on its operations, but still had work to do,” Siegel said, adding that the remaining $200,000 gap was closed through cost-saving measures including staff consolidation and benefit reductions.

“Additionally, the JCC has been making headway in its fundraising with large donors who are investing in a turnaround plan that is showing meaningful momentum,” Siegel said. “As a result, the operating statement has shown significant operational profit in each of the past two years.” He declined to say how much profit.

Since February 2014, under the auspices of an Oversight Committee appointed to oversee management of the JCC during its reorganization, the JCC’s $6.5 million balance sheet deficit has been reduced to about $2.5 million through fundraising, restructuring of endowments related to the initial construction of the building and limited operational gains.

Siegel says he expects this number to be reduced to under $2 million by the end of this fiscal year. The JCC has a strategy, he says, to generate these unrestricted dollars over the next three years.

“By May 31, we will have eliminated our line of credit, which was fully drawn in the amount of $500,000, and we will have no real debt left once this is eliminated,” Siegel said, adding that the JCC still owes itself some money from an endowment that was borrowed against many years ago.

“The major progress on both the operating statement and the balance sheet have put the JCC in a better financial condition than it has been in in more than 20 years,” Siegel said.

“We expect this to continue to improve.”