An anonymous benefactor has gifted $1 million to Chabad Intown. The generous contribution this month brings the total raised in the center’s Vision 2020 campaign to $4.4 million.
“Until now, Vision 2020 has been internal,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman, director of Chabad Intown. “This monumental gift empowers our campaign to go public in January. I am grateful for the confidence the donor has placed in me and their appreciation for the importance of our work for the intown community.”
In December 2018, Chabad Intown completed the $2.9 million first phase of its move to the Atlanta BeltLine. This included purchasing, developing and dedicating Unit B, the expansive upstairs portion of a building fronting Ponce de Leon Place.
Funded by a handful of donors, Phase 1 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; inviting classrooms; and a modern, urban design, accented by warm wooden craftsmanship to reflect the welcoming neighborhood aesthetic.
After moving into its prominent new home, Chabad Intown had the opportunity to secure a lease/purchase on Unit A, the 17,000-square-foot industrial space that fronts the BeltLine, across from Ponce City Market. This positioned Chabad Intown to start Phase 2: purchasing Unit A as a bridge between its community and the public.
“The growing, diverse community attracted by the BeltLine development values opportunity and growth, and is searching for ways to connect,” said Eric M. Robbins, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. “The resulting influx of new families into the intown area has created a greater need for dynamic outreach programs and services. Our community is blessed that MJCCA Intown, synagogues and others are offering a host of meaningful ways to access Judaism Intown. Chabad has been Intown for 23 years and we are thrilled to see that they can now offer even more opportunities at their new location.”
“The new BeltLine center has answered a need that we’ve been yearning for since the JCC moved out of town in 1997,” said Chabad member Charna Perloe.
When Vision 2020 begins its public campaign in January, the goal will be to: complete the acquisition of Unit A and raise funds for building the future Intown Jewish Preschool. “From art, Torah, socializing, and a co-working space, to Sunday school, business networking, women’s programming, and a New York-style kosher deli, Vision 2020 indeed realizes a dream Jewish community center in sync with the renaissance of Atlanta’s urban core,” Schusterman said.
Founded in 2007, IJP has grown to over 70 students with a long waiting list. Its reputation among Jewish preschools for being an innovator in progressive Jewish education attracted a few foreign visitors recently.
Chinese educators visiting Atlanta for an early childhood education conference stopped by. The school also reports that Israeli and Russian schools have touted it as an example of effective early learning.
The school has outgrown the three Morningside bungalows that currently house it. The vision is to build a sustainable space and modern expanded playscapes.
The total budget for Phases 1 and 2 is $12 million. Phase 1 raised the initial $2.9 million. With the anonymous $1 million gift, the naming dedication of Jeff’s Place, a resource for those in recovery, plus a number of additional gifts, they now need $7.6 million to reach that total goal.
“Vision 2020 offers a personal invitation for every individual to help build our collective future together,” Schusterman said.
Intown resident and residential real estate broker Mitch Prusin eloquently articulates the feeling. “Every time I walk by the BeltLine building, I feel a sense of pride. This is one of ours!”
Naming opportunities for the BeltLine community center and the Intown Jewish Preschool are available.
“I am confident that our fundraising efforts will directly or indirectly produce donors who believe in the urban core of Atlanta and the future of the Intown Jewish community and want to dedicate these spaces for posterity,” Schusterman said.
“The current exciting project is just the beginning. The future building opportunities are virtually infinite.”