The two Roadburg foundations have committed $36 million in the redevelopment of the Jewish Community Centre
For Alex Cristall, who recalls Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre (JCC) being a big part of his formative years, it’s the “community” part of the centre that resonates with him the most.
“The JCC welcomes everyone in the city and province,” he says. Serving as the campaign chair for JWest—a community-wide initiative to redevelop the JCC—he is looking to upgrade the building’s services. “It's a great way for us to share our traditions with the entire community, and I think when you hear about people and foundations stretching to make it happen, it motivates everybody.”
Vancouver's Jewish Community Centre
Since 1961, when the JCC was originally built, Vancouver’s Jewish community has doubled in size, according to Cristall. In an effort to expand capacity, the JWest project has just crossed the $88 million mark of its $161 million philanthropic goal, following a commitment from the Roadburg family’s charitable foundations, the Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation and the Al Roadburg Foundation.
The Roadburg family, who engage in initiatives to help the Jewish community in Canada and beyond through its charities, have promised to match $36 million for the JWest project: “So we've got to raise $36 million to get their $36 million,” Cristall explains.
It was around seven years ago that the JCC started looking into redevelopment opportunities. But as demand grew, the Jewish Federation came on board, and the JWest project expanded to include a mixed-use residential area. It also decided to bring King David High School under its umbrella, which was at capacity.
Vancouver's Jewish Community Centre. A rendering of the JWest project
The project is to be completed in two phases, the first one being a more modern 240,000 square foot facility (roughly twice the size of the current JCC), and the second being the off-market housing area and high school. The new facility will feature a bigger space for the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, as well as upgrades to its daycare, senior programs, theatre, fitness centre and more.
So far, JWest has received $88 million in charitable support, with $25 million coming from the Diamond Foundation (which was then met with an additional $25 million, followed by another $2 million, from community donors). Now, with the Roadburg family’s $36 million challenge, JWest has crossed the 50 percent mark of its $161 philanthropic goal.
The project has also received support from the federal and provincial governments, with donations of $25 million from each.