Jewish Family Service celebrates 120 years and $9.1M decision to stay on Capitol Hill

Stusser-McNeil celebrates Sunday’s ribbon cutting at JFS (Image: CHS)

In a neighborhood which will soon include the greenest office building in the world, the new Jewish Family Service Seattle headquarters building is also somewhat miraculous. ”The fact that we’re actually standing in this building and not just talking about it is a miracle and a blessing,” said Laura Stusser-McNeil before Sunday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new facility. Stusser-McNeil served as the organization’s board president through much of the planning of the new facility.

Stusser-McNeil said JFS wrestled with a long search for an appropriate building to buy to solve the 120-year-old organization’s resource needs with a purchase but ultimately couldn’t find a structure that met the organization’s requirements. The result is a $9.1 million investment in Capitol HIll.


The new 19,000 square-foot building is part of an expanded Capitol Hill campus home to Jewish Family Service’s offices, meeting spaces, its food bank and its counseling service facilities. JFS’s range of programs include addiction counseling, refugee assistance, and the food bank services. In recent years, it has served more than 10,000 people annually. The food bank and the counseling services will continue to operate out of the old Jessie Danz building which is also undergoing a renovation.

The entryway to the new LEED Silver-certified, Weinstein A|U-designed building features a large quotation designed to inspire and, the organization’s head says, also captures the philosophy behind the project.

“We could have put any quote. The city didn’t determine which quote. But we put [on] Hillel’s famous quote,” said Ken Weinberg, JFS’s CEO in remarks before the ribbon cutting. “And I see people stopping here and taking pictures just of the quote. People who have never heard or seen the quote — If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am I? — If not now, when?. Well, that quote is about this building.”

JFS traces its lineage back to Seattle’s Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society founded in 1892.

You can learn more at jfsseattle.org.

6 thoughts on “Jewish Family Service celebrates 120 years and $9.1M decision to stay on Capitol Hill

  1. Congratulations to JFS on the new digs! I have to say their construction site was one of the best managed I’ve been around – the workers were an absolute pleasure! Big thanks in particular to Tom, who always had a treat on hand for my dog when we walked by on our way to the office.

  2. I love this guy! We talked often and he was a ray of sunshine. Congrats to JFS and all of the kind hearted, professional people who work there. This organization truly helps people in need and we are lucky to have them in our community. Keep up the good work!