Nancy Waldbaum, community leader and the granddaughter of the Waldbaum supermarket founder, is the newest board president at the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center and said she is looking forward to continuing the center’s work to bounce back from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Waldbaum said she comes from a family dedicated to philanthropy, a pursuit and passion instilled in her and applied to the work she implements in her life and at the Sid Jacobson JCC.
She has long served in charity work, including for organizations like Northwell Health, the Manhattan Jewish Experience and Variety Preschoolers Workshop. She is currently involved with the Jewish National Fund’s upcoming culinary institute, which is planned to be located in Israel. She is a longtime active member of the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation.
Waldbaum has served on the JCC board since 1992, starting at the age of 24 and serving for the past 31 years – more than half of Waldbaum’s life. She is also the executive director of the I. Waldbaum Family Foundation, serving since 1991.
During her time as a board member, Waldbaum has chaired the development committee, chaired the dinner dance – the JCC’s primary fundraiser – and has sat on nearly every JCC board committee.
Amassing 31 years on the JCC’s board, Waldbaum said she has witnessed a variety of leadership and staff changes. Through these three decades, she’s observed how leadership has conducted itself and said she will take those lessons into her new position as president.
“I’ve watched,” Waldbaum said. “I’ve watched what we’ve done well, I’ve watched what we’ve done exceptionally and I’ve learned from our mistakes.”
She said she has been inspired by the JCC’s staff and their efforts for constant innovation, contributing to the center’s expanding programming.
Waldbaum has a vision of where she wants to take the Sid Jacobson JCC, including creating an overarching endowment fund to protect the center and its members in the event of a future emergency comparable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want us to have an endowment to protect us so that the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren will have the opportunity to use our programs, to use our facility, to get what they need from us,” Waldbaum said. “Whether they’re cancer survivors looking for resources, special needs, whether they’re kids going to camp or preschool, we serve so many populations that need us so desperately it would be a crime for us not to exist.”
Other goals Waldbaum has include renovations to the JCC building, appropriate security for member safety, strengthening commitment to their community needs bank and securing donors and partners.
“We really are looking to shore up all of our avenues and all of our facilities in an effort to make us strong and sustainable and offer people the best programming that we can provide,” Waldbaum said.
Waldbaum’s position began July 1, taking over in the wake of former JCC board president David Levy.
“Nancy and her family have taken to heart the idea of Tikkun Olam (“repairing the world”), a tenet embraced by everyone at Sid Jacobson JCC who make it a guiding principle of our daily work on behalf of Long Island families and our community,” Levy said in a press release. “We welcome Nancy to the presidency with open arms and are excited to see the creative ways she will come up with to use her many years of experience for the benefit of so many others.”
Now two weeks into her new position, Waldbaum said it has been going well and is proud to be taking on this new role. She said her success so far can be attributed to her planning for the position, which she said has been ongoing for about a year.
She said she has been collaborating with the center’s senior leadership team to utilize their experience and understand the long-term goals for the JCC overall.
“I don’t want it to be my vision, it has to be our vision,” Waldbaum said.
Waldbaum is also welcomed into her new position alongside new treasurer Jeff Buslik and assistant treasurer Rita Levy.
“There is nothing the Sid Jacobson JCC can’t obtain because we have been blessed throughout my tenure with a stellar group of staff members who all are passionate about what they do and have real vision and drive,” Waldbaum said. “And that works in tandem with the 30+ board members who also are passionate and are driven and are focused. We all come to the JCC from different perspectives, but at the end of the day the unifying goal that the staff and the board share is that we are passionate about the work that happens within our building and outside of our building, and we are committed to making it stronger, better and continuing to grow.”