The Rady JCC Year in Review: A Story for the Ages

December 16, 2022

Dear Rady JCC Friends,

What makes a good story?

Ask any writer this question and they will tell you: setting, plot, and character. And the stronger each one is, the greater the story you will have.

Over the past twelve months, our Rady story was told through triumphs and upsets, successes and setbacks, and at the heart of it all, through hard work and determination.

Let me tell you our story of 2022.

* * *

Rady’s setting was set –

Dare I say it, we started our year with the never-ending pandemic finally in our rearview mirror. Even though the worst was finally behind us, the lingering effects of its impact would continue to be felt. Three government-mandated closures in 2020 and 2021 as well as people’s ongoing and understandable hesitancies to gather decimated our membership numbers and our amount of various program offerings.

We faced huge staffing shortages throughout the entire Rady and knew we needed to begin to build our team back to where we were pre-Covid. Because we couldn’t offer in-person programming for over two years, our Programming department had become a shadow of what it once was. Knowing our various Rady specialty programming make up the fabric of our identity, we understood building this back up was a priority

On top of this, we faced the monumental challenge of delivering our annual Rady JCC Ken Kronson Sports Dinner, our flagship fundraising dinner, in person once again after a three-year hiatus.

(Footnote – we knew we had our work cut out.)

* * *

The plot thickened –

We began an aggressive and coordinated push to bring more people back through our doors. Our Marketing and Membership staff worked tirelessly, creating promotions, incentives, and other reasons for our members to return. While it’s been a slow climb, we continue to push the needle in the positive direction, seeing more and more of you return every day.

Creative first-time initiatives, such as RadyFest, allowed us to open our doors to the wider community to come check out what the Rady JCC has to offer and why we are one of the top fitness and aquatics facilities in Winnipeg. New fitness group classes catering to different demographics gave more options for people who returned.

We brought our Programming department online again, delivering a variety of beloved safe in-person programming to members in our community and beyond once again. Our Hanukkah week and Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations drew in hundreds. Music ‘N’ Mavens and the Tarbut Festival, two pillars of our programming, brought people back through our doors. Through a generous financial gift to our endowment from the Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, we secured lifechanging ongoing annual funding specifically directed to our inclusion and adaptation programming.

We delivered our annual Sports Dinner to a sold-out crowd of business and community leaders in June. Over 1,200 people came out to hear from three-time Super Bowl Champion and all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith as well as honour local community volunteers and philanthropists Carol and Neil Duboff.

The results being that this dinner would prove to be the most financially successful event in its 48-year history, raising $400,000 after all bills were paid.

* * *

And finally, the characters of Rady’s story were first-class –

We would not be where we are today without the ongoing love and support of our steadfast Rady members. This past year, you showed up. You showed up to our gym, to our pool. You showed up to our programs, our events, and our classes. You showed up and showed us that we will be okay. We will go on and we will succeed.

Our Board of Directors, led by our outgoing President Ginna Sapozhnik, governed our organization with confidence and tenacity during one of our toughest runs in over 100 years. Ginna’s fierce leadership allowed us to turn some of our hardest times into some of our sweetest victories.

And finally, my fellow staff, you are all the main characters of our Rady story. You are the reason why people don’t want to put this book down; why I know that we will be alright. You make me proud and honoured to come to the office every day; to be part of this story.

Our Rady story isn’t just good; it’s great. And it’s just getting going.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire staff, enjoy the holiday season and see you soon.

Rob Berkowits
Executive Director
Rady JCC

* * *

Epilogue – 

I always say that here at the Rady, we are a family. A family of members, staff, and volunteers. As a family, we work hard to ensure we continue to be a safe and welcoming place cherished and loved by so many.

Times have been difficult here at the Rady. While we are starting to climb back to where we need to be, we still have a way to go.

With that said, I urge you to consider making a gift to the Rady JCC before year-end in order to receive a full tax receipt this calendar year.

I can assure you that your act of consideration will be far-reaching in its benefit to the entire community.

To make your gift, please call Lisa Reiss at 204.477.7513.