Love of JCC and Charitable Giving Becomes a Family Tradition

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus

Each day at the JCC inspires moments of Jewish connection or friendship or individual success—but one facet of the JCC in the spotlight today, during this 100th birthday celebration, is how it has tied together generations of families.

Carrie Madison said she’s been coming to the JCC for as long as she can remember. “I grew up going there and my parents and grandparents were involved. My husband, Andy, as well. Whatever stage of life I am in, it has been a part of Andy’s and my life. We went to preschool and camp there. I worked there and worked out there, and Andy asked me for my first date there! Fifteen years of marriage later, I would say the JCC is very special to us!”

That sentiment is echoed by Carrie and Andy’s eighth-grade daughter, Marissa, who said, “I like working out there and I like the Jewish family feeling. I like knowing that my family goes there and my grandparents and cousins. It’s a special place.”

The Madisons are a family that has not only passed down the tradition of involvement at the JCC, but also supporting it. Marissa, who likes working out and being with her friends at the JCC, donated to the JCC Capital Campaign through her B’nai Tzedek fund.

B’nai Tzedek is a program created in 1999 by Mitzi and Henry Saeman and the Columbus Jewish Foundation to make it easy for kids to donate money. The Foundation’s Director of Youth Philanthropy, Deborah Applefeld, explained that the program is designed to teach young people about philanthropy as a way of life. “We help expose the value of giving through concrete examples, and it shows off how giving does create lasting change in our community and in people’s lives.”

Marissa said her parents set up her B’nai Tzedek fund about three years ago. “I used it with my Bat Mitzvah to donate to Jewish Family Services. I used it to pay for bags for the elderly. Then I wanted to help the JCC and Mom told me about the Match that would be made if I gave money, and I liked the idea of it making an even bigger impact.”

Through the Match, all dollars donated to the JCC Capital Campaign are doubled.

Now Marissa, who is the fourth generation of a family that has made the JCC a part of its life, spends not just her time and energy at the JCC, but also her philanthropic dollars. Her mom, Carrie, said of the gift, “It was truly wonderful to see she feels that the JCC is as special to her as it is to us.”