A legendary legacy and future growth: JFCS’s path to success

When You Can’t Do It Alone” is the slogan that best describes why individuals turn to Jewish Family and Children's Service of the Suncoast (JFCS), the multi-county premier multi-function social service nonprofit. Celebrating 30 years of service to the community, JFCS has more than proven and met the needs of the community in its short lifespan.

JFCS offers wrap-around services to the most vulnerable members of the community. The caring, compassionate and professional staff and volunteers offer support and help to empower individuals and families toward self-sufficiency.

For Rose Chapman, the chief executive officer of JFCS for the past 23 years, she knows this phrase well. During her tenure, Rose worked with staff and volunteers and successfully took JFCS from a $200,000 agency to an $8.5-million agency, grew the staff from three to 114, expanded geographically from one office to 16 sites and increased the range of services the nonprofit offers to the community from three to over 25 programs.

JFCS is 40 times larger in terms of its budget since Rose joined the nonprofit,” says Joe Mendels, the current chairman of the JFCS board and a retired psychiatrist. “She transformed JFCS into one of the most important social service agencies in the community. We have grown from a handful of services to helping seniors, veterans, caregivers, adults, children and adolescents, families, the homeless and so many others.”

Now, it is now time to pass the baton and count on those who have counted on Rose so tremendously over the years, to take JFCS to an even higher level. The powerhouse nonprofit is about to embark on a search for a new CEO but don’t count Rose out.

The licensed clinical social worker and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida will continue her work for JFCS in another function as CEO emeritus. In her new position, Rose will utilize her over 40 years in nonprofits to work with the incoming CEO and the JFCS board to ensure its fiscal sustainability and security as the organization moves forward.

To incoming board chairman Steve Seidensticker, Rose has absolutely left a lasting impression in the lives of others.

One of her greatest accomplishments is the countless people she’s helped,” Steve says. “Rose while being the CEO also counseled JFCS’s clients. People don’t realize the broad scope and breadth and the lives that she’s touch while managing everything. It’s a huge operation yet Rose still found the time to counsel and advise as a clinical social worker. She has a hands-on, compassionate approach.” 

From 2014-15, over 15,000 individuals received more than 75,000 services from JFCS, including case management, individual and group counseling, life skills education and assistance with basic life necessities, such as food and emergency financial assistance for homeless prevention. JFCS’s over 450 volunteers provided more than 7,500 hours of service during that time.

JFCS has grown tremendously – not only financially but also geographically,” says Rose. “I am truly grateful to the wonderful staff, volunteers, board of directors, donors and the supportive community. Without them and their confidence and trust, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are today. The multi-county generosity has allowed us to provide the resources and services needed throughout the community.”

Led by Joe Mendels and Steve Seidensticker, the nonprofit will assemble a search committee tasked with finding a new leader to move the organization forward and continue its important mission. The board of directors plans to formalize a search committee, including experienced consultants from nonprofit and human resources agencies, within the next 30 days.

"For the future, I see stability, further growth and additional services provided to the people that need it in the community," Rose says. "Our mission is to empower individuals and families toward self-sufficiency. To be here for people who need us, and I'm here to assure we will always be there to meet those needs."

Rose will remain the CEO until the position is filled and will assist with the transitioning process. The incoming CEO will build on the legacy already in place and lead the nonprofit, including handling all of the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Giving Challenge 16 was AMAZING!!!!

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New Home for our Cancer Support & Wellness Program

 We are pleased to announce that the therapeutic classes, recovery programs and support groups offered through the JFCS Cancer Support & Wellness Program have a new centralized home…at the newly renovated space at Temple Beth Sholom.  When the Center for Building Hope closed its doors last fall, JFCS took on more than 75 monthly classes, programs and support groups.  Scrambling for space, JFCS scheduled these at its Weinberg Campus on Fruitville Road, Flanzer Campus on Ringling Boulevard and at community-based locations throughout Manatee, Sarasota, South Sarasota and Charlotte Counties.  Participation by individuals and caregivers quickly grew and JFCS needed to find alternative space that could be dedicated exclusively for these programs.  Thanks to the generosity of Betty Schoenbaum and the Schoenbaum Family Foundation, funding was granted to JFCS in order to rent space from Temple Beth Sholom to create a special caring and healing center for these therapeutic programs, services and support groups.

Known as the S. Tuttle Campus, the new space consists of three rooms, each dedicated for a specific purpose. 

  • The Mind Body Center is a room where men and women can practice Tai Chi and QiGong as well as participate in yoga and cancer recovery exercise. 
  • The Support Room provides a caring atmosphere for individuals attending the various support groups to meet and has a dedicated privacy area for fittings for the Knitted Knockers. 
  • The Expressive Arts Room offers a venue for creative expression including writing, quilting and therapeutic art endeavors.

For more information about programs, please contact Bambi Furtado, Cancer Support & Wellness Program Director, bfurtado@jfcs-cares.org or 941.366.2224 x167.  The Cancer Support & Wellness Programs are offered at Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota, on the West side of Building 1.  Look for the JFCS flag.  


Thank you Gulf Coast Community Foundation for awarding JFCS a $125,000 Challenge Grant in support of our Cancer Support & Wellness Program. JFCS offers its Cancer Support & Wellness Program to individuals, caregivers and family members affected by a cancer diagnosis. Programs include a wide variety of cancer support and networking groups for cancer patients and caregivers, grief support, cancer recovery exercise and therapeutic expressive arts. For information contact Bambi Furtado, Program Director at 941-366-2224, ext. 167

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JFCS Receives $50,000 Grant for Building Strong Families Program

JFCS received a $50,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation for its Building Strong Families (BSF) Program helping families in the North Port area seeking homelessness-prevention services. The Building Strong Families program, offered in Sarasota and Manatee counties, is a project geared towards keeping families safely housed in their present home by providing financial assistance and case management services because of a job loss or reduced earnings.

The grant will allow JFCS to continue serving those at risk in North Port for homelessness because of domestic violence, substance abuse, divorce/separation, medical crisis, employment loss and other life challenges facing families. Services include intensive case management, counseling, education, employment counseling and budgeting tools. Since 2008, the program has helped more than 410 North Port families remain in their homes and 800 children stay in place at school.

For more information about the program, call The Building Strong Families Coordinator at 941-366-2224