• 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.
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