GREATER SPRINGFIELD, MA (July 6, 2020) — Michael Paysnick, Chief Executive Officer of the Springfield Jewish Community Center (Springfield JCC; the J), has announced his retirement. Initially intending to retire in September 2020, Paysnick has graciously agreed, in light of Covid-19, to remain until a replacement is hired or until the end of the year.
“We are confident that we will situate an effective CEO to lead us in the years to come,” says Jonathan Goldsmith, President of the Springfield JCC Board of Directors. “We are fiscally solid, known for our amazing programs, services and staff, as well as situated in a wonderful geographic location. As such, we are confident we will be hearing from many qualified applicants.”
Paysnick began his career at the J as Assistant Executive Director in September 1988. In 2008, he succeeded now Executive Director Emeritus Mark Dindas.
During his tenure, Paysnick helped establish the J as the central meeting place of the Jewish and general community. He set the J on a path to financial sustainability, a goal achieved by working closely with the Board of Directors. “My work with the Board has always been a partnership in which our vision and goals have been developed together and shared. Their passion, support, and commitment to the J have inspired my work.”
Paysnick’s formula for accomplishing his leadership goals included a solid support staff. “I believe in hiring the best people, giving them space to create, challenging their ideas, and then providing the support they need,” says Paysnick. “Involving stakeholders in the decision-making process is critical to success.”
“Michael was instrumental in expanding existing programs as well as overseeing the initiation of new and creative programs and services, in a fiscally responsible manner,” says Goldsmith. “He successfully achieved the creation of the special needs program, Kehillah. He oversaw the expansion of the after school program and infant program in the Early Learning Center. In 2011, he achieved the successful hosting of the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games held at the Springfield JCC. During his time at the helm, Michael presided over numerous renovations and infrastructure improvements to the Center’s facility.”
The Springfield JCC received several recognition awards under Paysnick’s leadership, including one from Human Resources Unlimited (now Viability) who recognized the J for its employment practices of hiring individuals with special needs. The J also received the Brianna Award for its commitment to providing quality programs and services for individuals with special needs and their families.
Michael is only the fourth executive in the J’s 65 years on Dickinson Street. “I am truly honored to have been included in this incredible group of leaders who have helped to create a center of excellence and stability,” he says.
Many of the international JCC Movement’s great leaders came through Springfield. While the tenure of many of the staff at the J is long, the tradition of the Springfield JCC serving as a launching ground for young professionals continued under Paysnick’s leadership. Many of those professionals who he supervised are now executives and leaders in not-for-profit agencies across the continent.
He further reflected on the timing of his retirement during “The Great Pandemic,” a moment in history that could not have been imagined just a few months ago: “I’m proud that the staff was able to make a huge transition quickly to continue serving our community in meaningful ways. I am so appreciative that many of our members and those in the community continue to provide positive feedback about our efforts and financial support. The lay leadership and staff worked together beautifully to ensure our financial sustainability.”
“In addition to dutifully shepherding us through the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael also successfully led the J through the financial crisis of 2008-09,” says Goldsmith.
Goldsmith is pleased to announce that a Committee has been formed to assist in the search for a CEO. Chaired by Richard Goldstein and Vice-chaired by Sally Schneider, the committee also includes Jonathan Goldsmith, Sue Kline, Betsy Bertuzzi, Harvey Schrage, Amy Anderlonis, Liz Cohen Rappaport, Lindsey Pratola and Adam Deutsch.
As a devoted volunteer himself, Paysnick has been honored by the Jimmy Fund with the Bob Cheyne Lifetime Commitment Award. Anyone who knows Michael Paysnick is aware of his dedication to the Jimmy Fund’s Pan-Mass Challenge. The 2020 bike ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown, his 23rd year, will be reimagined due to the pandemic.
“The ride is always the highlight of my summer,” says Paysnick. “As a cancer survivor, the ride provides an opportunity for me to support a cause I feel deeply about, to remember and honor so many family and friends who have had a cancer diagnosis and hope that my efforts in some small way will help eradicate this disease.”
When Paysnick officially assumes the Emeritus role, he plans to spend more time enjoying family, hobbies, and travel. With his heart ever at the J, he also hopes to explore ways to welcome more people to what he calls the “living room” of the entire community.
The Springfield Jewish Community Center (Springfield JCC; the J) enriches community and nurtures wellness through physical, intellectual, social and spiritual programs and services. The J is guided by Jewish values, welcoming and respecting people of all abilities, ages, backgrounds, identities and faiths.