Mittleman Center names Nemer to develoment post
By Deborah Moon
article created on: 2008-09-15T00:00:00
For the new development director of the Mittleman Jewish Community Center/Portland Jewish Academy, her new job is like coming home.
Portland native Patti Layton Nemer said she has seen more old friends since starting her new job Aug. 18 than she had seen in the previous two years working at the World Forestry Center.
“It feels so good to walk in and see my children’s friends and my own grandchildren,” she said.
At both the forestry center and the Portland Art Museum, where she worked for almost 10 years, she worked closely with the development directors of the two organizations. She said art museum development director Lucy Buchanen was a wonderful mentor.
At the center, she plans to draw on those experiences to fill her new role as “to do fund-raising and to help anyone here who needs my help… helping a board member with a solicitation or helping staff or members with any issues.”
One of Nemer’s biggest goals as development director is personal.
“I want my grandchildren to have the same opportunities as I and their parents had,” Nemer said. “That used to culminate at the center in my day. My children spent a lot of hours at the center and I hope my grandchildren will as well.”
Nemer’s three children—Tiffany Rosenfeld, Adam Nemer and Robin McCoy, who all still live in Portland—all attended preschool at the MJCC. And her oldest daughter, who was in the first preschool class in the center’s new building when the MJCC opened on Capitol Highway, also attended kindergarten at Hillel Academy, the predecessor of Portland Jewish Academy.
The MJCC was also the first board Nemer ever served on. She went on to serve on the MJCC preschool committee and Congregation Beth Israel’s board and executive committee for many years.
“I served on a lot of boards as a young parent,” she said. “I wanted to be involved where my children were spending time.”
Her new job will let her help ensure her grandchildren and the other children of the community have a vibrant place for activities and the availability of a thriving Jewish day school that provides an excellent education.
“My biggest goal is to see the continued growth of the center and the school,
she said, noting that center membership has gone from zero in 2005 after its restructuring to 1,090 today, and PJA now has about 320 students in preschool through eighth grade.
She said a major focus in her new post is working on the final phase of the MJCC’s capital campaign, which began four years ago.
“Culturally, no place represents the Jewish living room as well as the center,” she said.
With MJCC and PJA under one roof, Nemer said that they are intricately linked on many fronts, though both retain autonomy wherever feasible. She said the success of both is her goal.
“I hope whatever I’m able to do here reflects with honor on Harry and Diane Nemer—the most amazing father- and mother-in-law to learn from—and my parents Bob and Mitzi Layton as well,” she said, noting all taught her the importance of being involved in the local Jewish community.
Nemer said she welcomes calls from anyone who wants to discuss the center or just catch up. She can be reached at 503-535-3549.