Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman revealed the last phase of the Chabad Intown Vision 2020 building campaign, which has continued despite being complicated by COVID-19.
The first phase of that campaign that began several years ago was to secure the Atlanta BeltLine property and complete initial renovations. Chabad Intown completed the $2.9 million first phase in December 2018.
The Vision 2020 campaign goal is a whopping $9.3 million. So far, $6.2 million has been raised, leaving a balance of $3.1 million.
“A very generous donor has pledged $2.1 million on condition that we raise $1 million by the end of the summer,” Schusterman said. “This will complete this phase of the campaign. So it is a 2-to-1 match.”
The financial gift will allow Chabad Intown to begin the next phase of the campaign, which will include an elaborate renovation of the BeltLine building to make the 21,000 square feet more functional as a community center for meeting the community’s needs in many ways, he said.
Ideas include: a rooftop deck with Midtown view; kosher coffee shop; meeting and programming space for the Jewish recovery community; state-of-the-art adult educational space; teaching kitchen; wellness center; classrooms and event space; outdoor BeltLine engagement space; splash pad; art installation space; and a mitzvah walk, encouraging mitzvah activities.
In 2019, an anonymous benefactor gifted $1 million to the center, which brought the total raised in the Vision 2020 campaign to $4.4 million and allowed the campaign to go public in January 2020.
Funded by a handful of donors, the first phase of the project resulted in 1,700 square feet of sanctuary, convertible into a lecture and event hall, a state-of-the-art industrial kitchen, a community library and classrooms.
In terms of the overall pace of donations during COVID, Schusterman said smaller donations have dropped and larger donors have stepped in to help keep the community afloat.
Despite the pandemic, Chabad Intown had more donors in 2020 than ever before – 861, he said. “Although the donations may have been smaller, people recognize the value of what Chabad Intown brings to the community and have been committed to doing their best to support us during these challenging times. We have a great tracking system and have engaged with over 2,000 adults on average for the past five years. Plus, our donor ledgers have grown with close to 1,000 donors annually now!”
Chabad Intown was founded in 1997 to serve the Intown Atlanta Jewish community. Over the years it has grown from a small outreach center into a full-service Jewish center providing programs and services covering the full lifecycle. In 2018, Chabad Intown capitalized on an opportunity to position itself in the heart of the intown renaissance by securing the 21,000-square-foot building on the BeltLine only 100 yards from the popular Ponce City Market.
“We do our best at Chabad Intown to convey a positive message despite challenging times. This campaign is about using the challenging past 1 ½ years of COVID as a springboard with the lessons learned and looking and moving forward with community and meaning. The time is now for our community to leap forward together into the future and all that our new world has to offer.”