The Sarasota Jewish Community expanded very rapidly in the early 1970’s. With that growth came the need to provide social services.
A group of dedicated volunteers, many of whom were retired social workers, directed their energies to “helping the elderly”.
As the needs of the community grew, it appeared that a more comprehensive organization was needed.
A committee led by Sidney J. Berkowitz, a retired Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Chicago, began the process of studying the feasibility of a local full-fledged family service agency.
With the need demonstrated, Jewish Family Service became an autonomous agency with its own independent Board of Directors replacing the existing Jewish Federation Advisory Committee.
Jewish Family Service was chartered, by-laws were developed, and Officers and Board Members were officially elected in July 1986. The first office for Jewish Family Service consisted of 250-sq. ft. of rented space.
On June 3, 1996, our name was changed to Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Sarasota-Manatee and a department for children and adolescents was officially launched.
In 1997, the Board of Directors undertook its first major capital campaign to build a permanent home for Jewish Family & Children’s Service.
The agency experienced major growth and moved into The Goldie Feldman building on The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg campus on Fruitville Road in August 1999.
In November, the 6,000 sq. ft Schoenbaum Family Life Enrichment Center was dedicated to providing a total of 14,600 sq. ft of counseling and office space and meeting rooms at the main campus of JFCS.
In January 2014, the Gloria & Louis Flanzer Campus on Ringling Boulevard consisting of 7,643 sq. ft was dedicated to expand the agency’s counseling, education and social services.