Rockville JCC receives ‘transformative’ $6.25m gift

Sondra and Howard Bender Courtesy Bender JCC
Sondra and Howard Bender
Courtesy Bender JCC

Leaders of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington are describing as “transformative” a $6.25 million gift to the Rockville agency from the Bender Foundation of Washington.

The center is undergoing major renovations, and the gift will allow it to expand the scope of the improvements on the 47-year-old building, said CEO Michael Feinstein.

A capital campaign to finance the renovations was close to its $12 million goal when the Bender family agreed to the gift, Feinstein said. The gift “took us to $15.7 million and enables us to do significantly more renovations than if we had only reached $12 million,” he said.

The agency will return to previous donors to try to raise an additional $2 million, he added.

The additional money allows the center to build an “inclusive playground,” expand its indoor pool and update the lobby with a new café, according to a news release.

The Bender family is a major donor to the Rockville JCC. An earlier gift to the center established the Sondra and Howard Bender Early Childhood Center.

With the $6.25 million pledge, the center will change its name to the Bender JCC of Greater Washington, which the center hopes will be known as the Bender JCC for short.

The Washington DC Jewish Community Center recently went through a similar renaming. In December, it received a $6.5 million gift from Irwin and Ginny Edlavitch of Washington. The agency is now the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington, D.C.

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