- Meet Our Leaders
Marci began her service on the JFCS Board of Directors last year, but her role as a JFCS lay leader is anything but new. She and her family have been mainstays in the Marin County JFCS community since they made the move from Los Angeles 14 years ago.
Marci is adored for her easy-going and warm nature, enthusiasm, and creativity in supporting JFCS’ programs that promote family, community, and caring for those who need an extra boost up. She and her family have been honored numerous times for their exceptional volunteer leadership and she is also a member of the JFCS Program and Planning Committee and the Fammy Gala Planning Committee.
Tell us a bit about the community where you grew up and your background.
I was born in Memphis and grew up in Los Angeles. My family and I were very involved in our Jewish community and from a young age my Jewish identity was always an important part of who I was. I went to a Jewish day school and my family was active in our synagogue. I actually first met my husband, Marc, on a trip to Israel when I was 16—although we didn’t start dating until I was in graduate school.
I’ve been an educator for over 25 years and I currently teach second grade at Brandeis Marin. I really value the integrated teaching approach that is taught at Jewish day schools where the “whole student” is supported—mind, body, and soul.
How did you first get involved with JFCS and how has JFCS touched the lives of your family?
When my husband and I moved to the Bay Area I was looking for a place to take my young daughters. I initially came to JFCS’ Parents Place for toddler programs, play groups, and parenting classes, which were fun to do with the girls. They were also invaluable for me as a parent.
Volunteering has always been a family endeavor in my home and we’ve taken a “hands-on” approach to choose activities we can do together, including shopping for the JFCS Food Pantry, and delivering foods and good cheer to isolated seniors during Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and Passover.
As my daughters grew they were both eager to get involved in some of JFCS’ pre-teen and teen programs. They took part in JFCS’ Summer Impact, the summer day camp for middle schoolers in Marin where kids learn about social issues that affect our community and complete community service.
Rebecca, my oldest daughter, also participated in the JFCS’ Next Chapter Program, where she was matched with a local Holocaust survivor, and she completed the JFCS’ YouthFirst Summer Internship Program, which gave her important on-the-job experience.
Marc, my husband, is a professor of Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University. From time to time he gets the wonderful opportunity to give a lecture at JFCS’ Café by the Bay, the monthly social gathering for local Holocaust survivors.
How did you get involved in philanthropy?
It was instilled in me by my parents to practice gratitude and to give back. In 2004, to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, my husband and I established the Dollinger Family Fund with JFCS in order to support individuals and families in need of emergency assistance.
In 2011, I was able to deepen my Jewish learning and understanding of the Jewish value of giving when I graduated from the Wexner Heritage Program. My classmates and I have stayed very connected and continue to volunteer together.
Is there a project you worked on with JFCS that was especially rewarding to you?
There are so many! I love my work as a teacher and the connection between JFCS and Brandeis Marin has been an important one. The kids at my school decorate the bags that seniors in Marin receive filled with foods each holiday. The children love to share their artwork and those receiving the bags are very touched by the colorful drawings. It’s meaningful for me to see my students connect the dots to giving of themselves and making others feel special and valued.
Anything else you would like to add?
My daughters both chose to decorate the tables at their Bat Mitzvah celebrations not with flowers, but with a basket full of non-perishable groceries for the JFCS Food Pantry. To me it just shows the value that JFCS embodies of helping those less fortunate. This resonates with my family so much!