2023 Inaugural Staff Impact Award
JCC Chicago is proud to announce the inaugural 2023 Staff Impact Award winner: Ilene Uhlmann, Director of Community Engagement.
This award celebrates a staff member who goes above and beyond exemplifying the agency’s core values of Creativity and Innovation, Customer Experience, Self-Leadership & Accountability and Teamwork & Collaboration.
As Director of Community Engagement, Ilene has been a driving force behind many of the agency’s programs and educational offerings for families, teens and adults including Chicago Jewish Film Festival, 8 Nights of Hanukkah, Family Shabbat on the Lake, Community Days, travel programs, Maccabi Games and other teen programs, and most recently Violins of Hope Chicago. JCC Chicago brought Violins of Hope Chicago, a collection of 70 string instruments played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust that have been painstakingly restored, to Chicagoland and surrounding areas across Illinois from April through September 2023.
Ilene spearheaded the largest and most expansive Violins of Hope initiative since the founding of the project in 2006 by creators Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein, which has already visited cities including Tel Aviv, London, Paris, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. The six-month residency in Illinois engaged more than 170,000 people through over 125 programs, in-person exhibits, and performances offered in partnership with schools, libraries, places of worship and community organizations. Ilene and her team’s accomplishment completely exceeded the J’s vision for Violins of Hope Chicago.
President & CEO Addie Goodman shares, “Ilene has been committed to our work at JCC Chicago for 30 years and I have had the privilege of working with her for the past 10 years. In every way, Ilene embodies and amplifies the J’s commitment to community in ways that matter most. For six months, Violins of Hope Chicago has fostered connection in the most positive and meaningful of ways and in deep partnership with organizations across Illinois. This is the largest program in our agency’s history and its messages of tolerance, acceptance, understanding and kindness more important than ever.”
Mazel Tov to Ilene for her exemplary work and dedication to our agency.