Last year, as Ellen puts it, our ‘off’ year , was our busiest year yet. We made more commitments and awards than ever before in our 14 year history. Jacob’s Ladder climbed to new heights on several different fronts; funding exciting new research initiatives, continuing our awareness campaigns, and establishing a legacy for the foundation. It was no ‘off’ year.
Around this time last year, as I sat down to write my note for the newsletter, we had just committed to fund a significant project, the Snoezelen Room at a very special place, the Lebovic JCC in the Schwartz/Reisman Centre. This was to be a legacy to Jacob, Jacob’s Ladder and a tribute to all of our donors from the last fourteen years.
One thing that Ellen and I have learned from Jacob over the years is that you can plan all you want, but if things change in the eleventh hour, you need to be flexible and adapt to the new environment. So as we went to print and the newsletter came off the press, there was a new reality, a bigger and better opportunity; five times bigger to be exact. We had to adapt.
While the Snoezelen Room met all the objectives of our funding criteria, fell in line with what the board planned for a legacy project, a huge therapeutic pool, at ‘centre ice’ of the JCC was even better. It was just five times the obligation. So here we stand, one year later, a new landscape with one large hill.
On June 6, 2012, at an unofficial opening, Jacob took the first dip in the Jacob’s Ladder Therapeutic Pool, at the Lebovic JCC in the Schwartz/Reisman Centre in Vaughan. On October 14, 2012, at the official launch, dozens of people, adults and children could be seen enjoying the benefits of this very special pool. Sometimes plans change, and you need to adapt-and with your help, we will.
New environment #2. Ellen has informed me that this year’s Jake’s Gigantic Give will be our last big fundraising event, for now. My initial response was that our timing may be a little off, especially given our new obligation. Her retort, we’ll make it bigger, and better, and raise even more. Typical Ellen response. I just have to adapt.
Upon reflection, this is the right course for our family, our volunteers, and the foundation. We have accomplished so much as a charity in such a brief period. While 14 years may seem like an eternity to some, for us, it has gone by in the blink of an eye. Making screening available without cost or hassle, developing awareness programs for rare genetic disorders, and funding ground breaking research are among the achievements of Jacob’s Ladder and we couldn’t be more proud. But the rallying of a community behind one little boy, the lessons learned of acceptance and sharing, and the spawning of a generation of new philanthropists will be the ones we remember the most.
This is NOT the end of Jacob’s Ladder, it’s just a new landscape, and in many respects a new chapter. We have much to do, and we need to make this year’s Jake’s Gigantic Give our biggest and best yet.
Thank you for all your love, support, and helping Jacob’s Ladder climb to new heights.
Jeff and Ellen Schwartz