June 5, 2020
The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta closed its doors for nearly 80 days from March 13 until it reopened June 1. Both during and after the reopening, the agency found creative ways to stay afloat financially and was assisted by grants and the community.
Only two weeks after closing its doors, the agency announced the layoff or furlough of more than half its employees. The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta made grants totaling $310,000 to the MJCCA to help extend health insurance coverage to employees who were furloughed and laid off.
Camp Barney Medintz, the MJCCA’s overnight camp and a major revenue generator for the agency, was a huge casualty of the COVID pandemic. Camp Barney annually attracts more than 1,200 boys and girls ages 8 to 16. The cost of a two-week session begins at $3,710, and the four-week session begins at $4,865.
During the closure, some of the MJCCA programming was migrated to online, including preschool and day camp programs, the Lisa F. Brill Institute for Jewish Learning, the Book Festival of the MJCCA, BBYO, and services with Rabbi Brian Glusman.
After Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order allowing day camps and preschools to open, the agency ran their “Summer Days @ the J” program from June 29 to Aug. 7. The day camp plan called for small groups of 10 camps and two counselors, and all outdoor activities. In addition, the MJCCA offered 10 virtual day camp programs for all ages throughout June.
An emergency fund established by the Federation provided the agency with $100,000 to help with the reopening.