NoVa JCC donation embraces demographic trend

Leadership from the Jewish Community of Greater Washington broke ground on
construction at the center in 2016. Credit: File photo.

In the more than a year since a demographic study showed Northern Virginia to have the most
populous Jewish community in the Washington region, much has been said about the need for the
area’s Jewish institutions to follow the growth, especially the need for further investment south of the
Potomac River.

Now, according to the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, all the talk is turning into action. Earlier this month, the JCC announced a donation of more than $300,000 to its capital campaign from Norman Pozez and Melinda Bieber.

Jeff Dannick, the executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, said that based on conversations he had with Pozez, the donation was made in large part as a result of the information gleaned through the demographic study. The study was done in cooperation with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and funded by The Morningstar Foundation established by Susie and Michael Gelman. The Gelmans are members of the ownership group of Mid-Atlantic Media, which publishes Washington Jewish Week.

Dannick said the $300,000 was issued as a challenge; if other donations exceed $300,000 before the center’s capital campaign is set to conclude at the end of May (it began in 2015), they’ll be matched by Pozez and Bieber. Dannick, however, said the totality of their donation amounted to more than $300,000.

“Norm and Melinda are fairly private in how they do their philanthropy, but they made a commitment early on in the campaign and as we were progressing and information from the demographic study came out, they concluded that the JCC was a critical institution in terms of the current and future growth of the Northern Virginia Jewish community,” Dannick said.

Pozez is the chairman and CEO of Uniwest, a real estate development and property management company based in Falls Church. He could not be reached for comment through Uniwest. He and Bieber live in the Kalorama neighborhood of D.C., according to a 2016 article in the Washingtonian.

Dannick said that internally, the JCC has moved its ultimate goal for the four-year campaign upwards as its progressed, but final figures wouldn’t be shared until it ends in May. So far, with money already raised, the center has renovated its front entrance, lobby, locker rooms, pool area, playground and HVAC system. The property’s original building, which is detached from the current JCC, is under construction and will become a performing arts center.

In addition, the main building is being expanded by 3,800 square to house a new fitness center. About $500,000 has also been committed to further outreach programs intended to increase the center’s reach elsewhere in Northern Virginia. Dannick and others have talked in the past about building a “hub and spoke” network by which the center in Fairfax serves as the “hub,” but programming and other pop-ups extend its reach, mitigating travel problems in the famously congested D.C. suburbs.

Dannick said that when the campaign kicked off, Pozez, who serves as the chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s endowment fund, and Beiber donated $250,000.

“I’ve known Norm for about six or seven years,” Dannick said. “He’s been an advisor to me on some projects here at the JCC, and he’s been a good friend and he understands the role that the Federation and the JCC play in our community and will play even more so in the future, particularly in Northern Virginia.”

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  1. Our sincere gratitude to Norman Pozez and Melinda Bieber for their very generous donation to the JCC of Northern Virginia. The Center has been vital to the growth of the Jewish population. Mr. Pozez and Ms. Bieber’s matching challenge to complete the latest Capital Campaign goal will go a long way towards bringing the Center up to current standards and its continuing growth in the community.


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