Northbrook, Illinois — October 28, 2021 – Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) announced the naming of its new facility in memory of NSSRA Foundation founding member and former president Dr. Mitchell L. Slotnick during a grand opening celebration held on October 23. Dr. Slotnick was a member of the NSSRA community for nearly 40 years and was a generous supporter and strong advocate for NSSRA.
The Mitchell L. Slotnick Center is located at 1221 County Line Road in Highland Park.
A champion for the needs of NSSRA participants and families, Dr. Slotnick, had long supported securing a permanent location for NSSRA. He remained active with the Association and served on the Foundation Board until his passing in 2018. The Slotnick Family’s generous donation of $1.15 million in his memory was crucial in funding NSSRA’s building purchase and renovation.
“Mitch’s passion and commitment to NSSRA and its mission was at his core, and drove every decision he made, every action he took,” said Liza McElroy, longtime friend of Mitch Slotnick, past member of NSSRA’s Board and current NSSRA Foundation Board Member. “Mitch was a respected leader, immensely generous both with his time and financial resources.”
Dr. Slotnick and his wife Valerie, of Northbrook, were introduced to NSSRA when their youngest son, Jay, began participating in NSSRA programs over 40 years ago. That participation quickly grew into what has now become a lasting history and legacy of family involvement with NSSRA. He and his wife were dedicated and valued members of the NSSRA community, invested parents, and personally generous. Jay remains an active NSSRA participant today.
Identifying NSSRA’s need for philanthropic financial support, Dr. Slotnick, along with two others, worked tirelessly to form NSSRA Foundation in 1997. The Foundation has since raised over $6 million for NSSRA. The Foundation Board has grown into a 12-member board where Dr. Slotnick’s eldest son Barry has served since 2013.
“Our family is deeply honored by this recognition,” said Valerie Slotnick. “Mitchell’s vision for a new NSSRA home has come to life perfectly in this beautiful, state-of-the-art facility.”
The Mitchell L. Slotnick Center is a 30,000 square foot facility on a 5.6-acre campus. It features a variety of updated participant spaces, including a courtyard, participant lounge, five recreation rooms, fully accessible washrooms, a library, a teaching kitchen, drop-off/pick-up hub, along with updated offices and on-site storage.
“The Mitchell L. Slotnick Center will give participants a home-base and marks an important milestone in NSSRA’s long history of enriching the lives of people with disabilities in our partner communities. We look forward to welcoming everyone,” said NSSRA Executive Director Craig Culp. “We built this building for our participants. Our hope is that they will enjoy this new home with their friends forever.”
With approximately 16,000 square feet of dedicated programming space, NSSRA is now able to expand its program offerings, reduce waitlists by accommodating more participants, and provide a home for its year-round adult day programs, Enriched Lifestyles for Adults (ELA).
More than half of the $3.65 million in funds needed to purchase the building came from NSSRA’s 13 partner agencies. The NSSRA Board of Directors passed a capital facility acquisition plan in 2013 for this purpose. The remaining finances needed were provided thanks to a significant contribution of $600,000 from NSSRA Foundation and a generous gift from the Slotnick Family of Northbrook, in memory of Mitchell L. Slotnick. NSSRA partner agencies shared approximately $3 million of the cost of renovating the facility. NSSRA Foundation’s “A Place to Belong” Capital Campaign raised the remaining $2.2 million. For a list of sponsors and donors, visit www.nssrafoundation.org.
NSSRA purchased the building, formerly Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism, in August 2019, ending a six-year search for a new facility. In 2013, the NSSRA Board of Directors formally identified, in its Capital and Facility Acquisition Plan, a need for the most suitable permanent location for NSSRA. After much planning and due diligence, the NSSRA Board of Directors approved the renovation of the Highland Park facility in November 2020, officially breaking ground in December 2020. The NSSRA administrative office was formerly located in Northbrook.