Denver Jewish Community Center Receives $16 Million Donation, Announces New Board

After years of financial uncertainty, the future of Denver's Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center has been restored.

A coalition of local donors recently contributed approximately $16 million to help the nonprofit organization pay off its long-accumulated debt of $14.3 million. Additionally, in July, the JCC named a new board of directors and facilitated a new land ownership arrangement of its South Dahlia Street center.

“First and foremost, we have financial stability, which is an unbelievably important thing for the J,” CEO Lara Knuettel told The Denver Post in late July. “We want to do right by the community and show the community that we are going to be here for generations to come.”

Majors donors included the Rose Community Foundation, Mizel Family Foundations, the Strum family and Michael Staenberg, the latter for whom the organization’s center is named.

This injection of funds allowed the JCC to absolve its outstanding debt, $8 million of which came from 20-plus years of maintenance to the organization’s facilities, according to a media release. It also allowed for the creation of a reserve fund for future projects.

As part of this financial reset, the JCC sold its 9-acre Denver property to a new subsidiary of Rose Foundation, one of its biggest financial supporters. In turn, the subsidiary is leasing the property back to the JCC for $1 per year for the next 100 years.

“It is because of the JCC’s unique nature as a critical Jewish community asset that the foundation is playing a role unlike any we have taken on before or will take on again,” Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, Rose Community Foundation president and CEO, said in a media release.

The JCC’s existing board of directors stepped down in late June and was replaced by a new board chaired by Don Kortz.

“I look forward to working with Lara and the highly qualified management team she has been building to ensure the JCC Denver continues to grow, thrive and serve even more community members with excellent programming for people of all ages,” Kortz said in a media release. “We all agree the JCC Denver’s programs in early childhood education, family engagement, Jewish arts and culture, fitness and wellness, service to older adults and multi-generational community-building are essential to our community.”