Scotch Plains – In partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ (JCF), the Jewish Community Center of Central NJ has been gifted a $2 million endowment from the family of Isaac and Helaine Heller (z”l) to provide ongoing financial assistance to JCC members in need. In recognition of the gift, the JCC has named its scholarship program in memory of Isaac and Helaine Heller.
The Isaac and Helaine Heller Financial Assistance Endowment, the first of its kind for the JCC, enables the JCC to expand its financial assistance program and deepen and broaden its impact for individuals and families in need.
“The doors at the JCC of Central NJ are always open to anyone who wants to participate in life-enriching programs and meaningful Jewish experiences,” said Mike Goldstein, JCC Executive Director. “The Isaac and Helaine Heller JCC Financial Assistance Program will ensure that we can deepen our commitment to helping all to participate, and welcome even more members of our community to the JCC, regardless of ability to pay.”
Stacie Friedman, JCC Board President, said: “Securing this major gift was possible through the strong partnership our JCC has with Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and the commitment we, as an agency, have to philanthropy. The JCC is grateful to the daughters of Isaac and Helaine Heller for this beautiful gift that will honor their parents’ memories today and for many years to come.”
The Heller Endowment will support financial assistance to 75-100 individuals and families each year for membership dues, preschool, kindergarten, after school and camp and other JCC programs.
“Our parents cared a lot about ensuring that families could access quality Jewish programs, regardless of ability to pay,” said Laurie Kaufman of Marlboro, NJ. “The JCC Central is really an incredible organization that offers so many wonderful programs, and it’s located right in our hometown where our parents lived for decades and helped build the Jewish community. This felt like a natural fit to all of us to honor our parents in this way and strengthen this agency and this community into the future.” Kaufman, along with her sisters Audrey Romberg, Hollie Heller and Hillary Granfield, made the gift possible.
The gift supports the historic Centennial Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, the largest fundraising initiative in the community’s history, which honors Federation’s upcoming 100th anniversary in 2023. The JCF is the planned giving and endowment arm of Federation.
Isaac, or “Ike,” and Helaine Heller were long-time Scotch Plains residents and long-time generous supporters of the former Jewish Federation of Central NJ, which merged in 2012 with MetroWest to become Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest.
Ike Heller, who grew up attending a one-room schoolhouse during the Depression and worked as a radio technician in the US Navy, became an entrepreneurial success as co-founder of Remco Industries. The company became one of the largest toy manufacturers in the US, producing walkie-talkies, board games, plastic battleships and submarines. He later founded Heller Industrial Parks, based in Edison, NJ, which now has more than 16 million square feet of commercial real estate throughout the nation. Helaine was a loving, kind and caring mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Together, Ike and Helaine supported scholarships to broaden participation for young people in Jewish educational programs. The Union of Reform Judaism high school semester in Israel is named Heller High, in recognition of a major endowment supporting scholarships for students to attend that program each year. Ike passed away in 2015, and Helaine in 2020.
For information about the JCC of Central NJ financial assistance program, please contact Mike Goldstein, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-889-8800 x218 or visit jccnj.org/financialassistance
The JCC of Central New Jersey is located at 1391 Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains. The JCC of Central New Jersey is a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and the Westfield United Fund.