Due to the added costs resulting from the recent bomb threats that JCCs have received since Jan. 4, The Roth Family Jewish Community Center took a risk. In order to raise the needed monies to cover the operating expenses of the JCC impacted by the threats, a 24-hour online fundraiser for a total goal of $200,000 was set up. If the goal was not met in that timeframe, all the donations would be returned.
To reach this goal, three anonymous friends of the JCC had set up matching gifts of 3:1 (a $25 gift would become $100, and so on).
The online website opened at 6 p.m. on March 8. In the event room at the JCC, chaired by JCC volunteers Samantha Taylor and Rita Issak, JCC CEO Keith Dvorchik, Executive Director Robby Etzkin, Marketing Director Amy Schwartz Kimlat, and #ThenNowAndAlways campaign volunteer chair Jodi Krinker, along with many others, sat on furniture donated by Orlando Party & Wedding Rentals watching a big screen with the web page showing donations coming in-and they came in fast and stead.
"There was a monitor that showed the percentage of where we were," said Krinker. "And it kept going up!"
Within the first two hours the $200,000 goal was met.
"WE DID IT! And we completely crushed our $200,000 goal!" said an ecstatic Dvorchik.
Only two hours into the fundraiser and calls still coming in, a $40,000 bonus round was initiated-and was met in another two hours.
"This is the fastest our fundraising platform, Charidy, has ever seen a campaign hit its goal! We're so thankful to our 550+ individual donors," Dvorchik said in an email to JCC members, and then announced a second bonus round. Because they were inspired by the overwhelming support of the Jewish community, longtime supporters Dick and Dottie Appelbaum pledged a new $20,000 match.
Again, the goal was met.
"We were floored," said Krinker.
Then, with only four hours left in the fundraiser, Marilyn Shapiro, Samantha and John Taylor, Susie and Ed Kleiman, Autumn and Andrew Ames, and an anonymous donor pledged $60,000 in matching gifts. So, the JCC announced they were doubling all gifts.
The final goal was set at $426,000.
When the deadline came, 916 individuals had donated a total of $428,274.
"The donations came from all demographics and all ages," Krinker said, "even children gave and people from Israel!"
"To this amazingly strong community, we say thank you-on behalf of the entire staff, the Board of Directors, and all of the lives that our JCC has touched then, now and always. Together, we showed the world that community always wins," said Dvorchik.
The final moments of the fundraiser were videoed and an obviously tired but elated Dvorchik and Etzkin spoke on camera.
"I am completely awed and blown away by the love and support for the Roth Family Jewish Community Center. The JCC is going to flourish. We're going to grow. We're going to be the place everybody wants to be."