CHAI Turns Around The Edward A. Myerberg Center

Today, the Edward A. Myerberg Center is coming off a record-breaking year, with fitness revenues up 30 percent and membership in groups such as the Bagel Boys more than doubling.

Yet it was only a little more than a year ago that this respected Northwest center for older adults, housed at 3101 Fallstaff Road since 1986, faced an uncertain future.

Running a significant deficit with membership flat, The Myerberg was struggling to survive. Recognizing the potential of this valued community resource that offered synergies with its aging agenda, The Associated asked CHAI to step in and take over operations in July, 2017, bringing it under the umbrella of CHAI.

“Running on its own, Myerberg was losing money, unable to find the economies of scale to make it sustainable,” said Lisa Budlow, vice president, Aging in Community, for CHAI. “When CHAI took over, The Myerberg could leverage The Associated’s resources in areas such as finance, human resources, development, and marketing in order to decrease costs.”

With Gail Zuskin in place as Executive Director, last year was dedicated to stabilizing The Myerberg Center. To get the facility back on track, there was a focus on increasing membership to its fitness center, one of its revenue drivers, through marketing promotions and an emphasis on personal training. Specialized fitness classes geared toward the health needs of older adults, such as boxing for those with Parkinson’s disease, were added, providing a competitive advantage in the community. At the same time, underutilized office space was converted into a new personal training studio.

Moving forward, The Myerberg Center is introducing several new projects this fall that are sure to position it as a resource for the older adult community. This fall, the new Tech-Knowledge Hub will open, providing seniors with the skills and the confidence needed to successfully utilize mobile technology. A concierge will teach classes in technology and provide one-on-one advice to community members, who can drop in with questions.

In conjunction with this project, Krieger Schechter has secured a grant for an intergenerational program, Better Together, which pairs 29 seventh graders at Krieger Schechter Day School with 15 Myerberg older adults. Over the course of the school year, small groups charged with getting to know each other, with the middle school students helping the older adults with technology. The year will conclude with a capstone project focusing on recording memories digitally.

And, in its most recent addition, The Myerberg has signed an agreement with Levindale Rehab which will create a physical therapy suite in the building and offer other screenings and health programs, such as balance training.

As CHAI continues to bring its expertise working with older adults to the Myerberg, Budlow took the Board through a strategic road map to set goals for the next 10 years. As part of meeting the strategic goals, Myerberg will create a 10-year building plan that includes attending to facility maintenance that had been neglected over the years of financial strife.

According to Zuskin, that includes an expanded focus on wellness, increased Jewish cultural programming and expanding its highly-regarded art curriculum. And she sees a chance to take advantage of the Tech-Knowledge Hub by partnering with entrepreneurs to become a site where they can test their products with an older adult audience.

As The Myerberg moves forward, there is an overwhelming sense that stabilization and growth couldn’t have been done without The Associated. “Everywhere you turn, The Associated is part of the overall story that has enabled us to put The Myerberg on the road to success,” says Budlow.

Adds Zuskin, “The depth of The Associated’s bench has enabled us to put The Myerberg on solid footing. Together with CHAI and the Associated, The Myerberg Center is positioned to lead the way in expanding innovative choices for Baltimore’s older adult community.”

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