Mandel JDS Raises Nearly $300K at Auction
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Mandel JDS Raises Close to $300,000 at Annual Spring Auction; Major Gift Announced
Amongst a sea of people, bid paddles were shooting through the air. The auctioneer (just like you might find in the movies) reeled off monetary values at a mile a minute, hardly stopping to catch his breath. The cause? The Mandel JDS Annual Spring Benefit Auction.
For the first time, due to an overwhelming amount of people in attendance, the Spring Benefit was held at Landerhaven Executive Catering, instead of the auditorium of the school. Some walked away with brand new speakers or big screen TV’s, while others left with a private meet and greet with TV’s Dr. Oz, or an all-inclusive trip to the Caribbean. In the end, the final amount raised totaled close to $300,000.
This massive haul comes on the heels of an extremely generous $500,000 gift announcement from Peter and Aliki Rzepka, founding members of the school. Their gift is dedicated to the renovation and expansion of the building.
In the name of charity, parents, faculty, community members, and clergy from across denominations packed into the massive hall, eager to help in any way they could. The first part of the evening consisted of a silent auction, where people were furiously tapping away on their smartphones - the medium used to place bids on over 200 items. Next, the crowd filed into the main hall of Landerhaven, enjoying dinner and a live auction, complete with veteran auctioneer Bob Hale.
In a special portion of the live auction, Mandel JDS stakeholders and community members raised nearly $100,000 to fund two new positions: a school nurse, and a part-time occupational therapist. The money will initiate these positions for the coming school year and fund the positions until they can be rolled into the general operational budget for the school.
In addition to the new positions, money was raised for general operating expenses. Coming on the heels of the extraordinarily generous endowment gift of $17,000,000 announced at the start of the school year, one of the key questions of the evening was why does the school need to continue to raise funds? As explained during the evening, the transformative gift is restricted in use. Five percent may be drawn each year, restricted to cover the new salary grid that raised salaries, create two new staff positions and provided funding for staff development. Two million dollars provides seed funding to renovate the building’s entryway and lobby as part of a master plan to update the entire building to meet 21st century teaching and learning.
“That we raised a considerable sum of money that will be put to very good use is of course a cause for celebration, beamed Jerry Isaak-Shapiro, Head of School. “More than that though, the night exemplified so much of what Mandel JDS champions: a genuine, Big Tent pluralist community, in which Jews from across the spectrum of observance and affiliation and even belief can respectfully – I’ll even say lovingly – celebrate Jewish education and the Jewish people, together.”
The event was coordinated and facilitated by a dedicated team of faculty and volunteers. Marla Bass, Laura Goldberg, Rachel Heiser, Amanda Kurland, and Lisa Cynamon Mayers served as the event chairs, while Ann Epstein, Rifka Claypool, and Jessica Shapiro served as committee chairs. Cindy Chaiten served as the event’s Corporate Sponsorship Chair.
"While our location may have changed for this year's event, and the name of the event changed to reflect our new school name, it was the same warm, fun, and exciting atmosphere we have celebrated for many years,” exclaimed Lisa Cynamon Mayers, Event Chair and Master of Ceremonies for the night. “Seeing all of these people come out to support the school is a testament to how much people really care.”
About Mandel Jewish Day School
Founded in 1969, Mandel JDS is Cleveland’s first Jewish day school accredited for educational excellence by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). The school also exceeds Ohio education standards for all core curricular subjects. Originally The Agnon School, in August 2015 the name changed to Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School, in appreciation of a $17,050,000 grant. While the name is new, blending superior general academics and Jewish studies remains central to the school’s mission, as does teaching to a broad spectrum of learners. Open to the entire Jewish community, Mandel JDS enrolls more than 350 students, 18 months – 8th grade, from diverse Jewish backgrounds.