Our Donors | Why They Do It

For Jeanie and Dave Federman, Jewish continuity is a priority. This is a deeply held family belief that first took root when Dave was a child in the mid-1950’s, and his parents enrolled him in clubs at the JCC when it was on Asylum Street in Hartford. And, it continues to this day. It is a belief that has gained greater momentum over the years, and that is the underpinning of the Federmans’ support of the Mandell JCC and other local Jewish organizations.

Dave’s first exposure to those clubs as a young boy at the JCC morphed into the centerpiece of his social life as a teen. The same was true for Jeanie, who was a member of a teen sorority at the JCC. The two met at the JCC on Asylum Street in the late 1950’s, where they embarked on a journey that would later come to include leadership roles, as well as multiple generations of the Federman family, all becoming a part of the JCC family.

Dave got his first taste of fundraising as a board member in the early 80’s when he co-chaired the inaugural JCC gala with Evelyn Lieberman and Blanche Goldenberg. In fact, this premiere event still remains Dave’s favorite.
The Federmans believe that “part of ensuring Jewish continuity is keeping our institutions alive and vibrant.” Dave brought this idea to life as Board President in 1986, at a time when the JCC was struggling financially. He was able to assist Joyce Mandell in stabilizing the JCC and keeping it alive. When the new Early Childhood Center was dedicated in 1991, thanks to a successful capital campaign, he witnessed just how vibrant the Center could be.

Jeanie also played a key role in launching the renowned Jewish Book Festival and was instrumental in other important programming efforts. Both were involved in the Center’s 80th anniversary celebration in 1995.

The Federmans believe that “if you don’t support Jewish institutions now, they can’t be there for you when you need them. The entire campus, with the JCC, Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Services, Hebrew Senior Care and others stands as a beacon in our Jewish community.” They also feel that “giving to our community is just what you do, it’s like breathing.”

Dave believes that “the JCC is the gateway to this Jewish community.” Dave and Jeanie, as well as their two sons, Eric and Brian, their nieces, and their grandchildren, have certainly entered our local Jewish community through the JCC portal.

“The JCC is singular and fundamental, as it serves all denominations of the Jewish faith.” The Federmans share that “right now, the Mandell JCC is better than ever. Albeit, we have actually been saying that for the last several years! That is because it just continues to improve with the addition of new buildings and new offerings, as well as being financially viable thanks in many ways to our Community Circle donors. Fundraising is absolutely necessary to sustain and support the JCC. It can’t fund itself based on membership dues and program fees alone. We need the help of donors.”

Dave sums it up this way: “the JCC plays a huge role. It serves all populations from babies to seniors, and people of all faiths. It is the foundation of our Jewish community and beyond.”

The Federmans have experienced all facets of that lifecycle firsthand. Their granddaughter, Michalina, recently bridged several generations of the family’s longevity with the JCC as an ECC student and later as a camper at Shalom – proving the point that Jewish continuity is what it’s all about.

Jeanie and Dave met at the JCC in the 1950’s.

The Federmans