JCGC Strategic Planning Project
It stands to reason that without known goals and clear strategies to reach them, there is little chance for an organization to achieve success. In 2019 Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati (JCGC) worked to assure that it has a plan to sustain its demonstrated success and build on that success into the future.
Since April, a diverse JCGC task force has focused on Strategic Planning. In addition to continuing its vital mission of performing burials and generally maintaining our cemeteries, JCGC has been considering ways to improve upon that service and mitigate changing needs and preferences of the community, as well as exploring new ways to connect with the community and expand the services JCGC can offer.
“JCGC is a community treasure. It is a unique organization that is the envy of communities around the country,” commented David Harris, JCGC Executive Director. “It took ten years of leadership by our Founders, Mike Oestreicher, Ed Herzig, and Ed Marks, to convince all the cemeteries to join. The first decade of JCGC’s existence required consolidation of data, policies, and procedures, while undertaking critical maintenance in the cemeteries and developing the new community cemetery in Loveland. At the same time, we were focusing on shoring up JCGC’s financial stability, which was one of the driving forces necessitating a merger.”
Several members of the present and past JCGC Board were guided through the deliberative process by Jerry Lewis and Gerry Korkin of OneSource. The task force thought deeply and broadly about JCGC’s present and future. First, the team clarified the organization’s Mission and Vision, then proceeded to distil a tight list of its Core Values:
Mission Statement: JCGC serves the burial needs of the Greater Cincinnati Jewish community with care and dignity and honors the resting places of our people.
Vision Statement: JCGC will serve and engage our entire Jewish community and preserve the history and memory of our people, while maintaining financial stability.
Core Values: Service: JCGC provides quality service with dignity and compassion in the fulfillment of its sacred duty. Sustainability: JCGC stewards all resources in a way that sustains our cemeteries. Diversity: JCGC respects the diverse traditions of the Jewish community it serves and is committed to collaborative decision making. Heritage: JCGC preserves and shares the Jewish community’s history enshrined in our cemeteries. Integrity: JCGC acts ethically and respectfully toward its staff, volunteers and the public.
Next, a wide-ranging phone interview campaign captured comments and critiques on JCGC’s present reality and areas for improvement. Then, the task force analyzed gaps between the present reality and stated goals. This led to the development of three major objectives: Financial Sustainability, Serving and Engaging the Community, and Honoring and Preserving our History. Some key strategies to help address each objective were also identified.
Alan Brown, current President of the Board of Trustees, observed that, “The resulting plan does not stray far from our originating goals and still leaves room for innovative ideas for how JCGC can serve the community, as JCGC evolves. We’re excited about the next steps and some projects that are already underway.”
Some of the strategies for the next phase of JCGC include an updated database with enhanced genealogy capabilities, the ongoing project to mark all our veterans’ graves, and the major 200th Anniversary celebrations being planned for 2021 to commemorate the establishment of the Chestnut Street Cemetery and the Jewish community of Cincinnati. Fundraising for the future needs of JCGC will also be a major focus of the 3-year strategic plan.
The JCGC Strategic Planning process now moves into the next phase: Planning and Implementation. The JCGC Board approved the Mission, Vision, and Values at its September meeting. In January, the Board and committee members will have a half-day retreat to further develop the strategies and the specific plans and metrics to measure their success. New talent is most welcome! Contact JCGC’s office at (513) 961-0178 if you’d like to get involved in sustaining our Jewish community’s varied and sacred history.