NSSRA Celebrates Grand Opening of Mitchell L. Slotnick Center

Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) is elated to announce the grand opening and naming of its newly-renovated facility located in Highland Park. NSSRA hosted a grand opening celebration on Saturday, October 23.

Mitchell L. Slotnick Center, the newly-renovated 30,000 square foot facility, sits 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.

Every aspect of the renovation was completed with the needs of participants in mind. With approximately 16,000 square feet of dedicated programming space, NSSRA will be 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).

“This new facility gives 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,” 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.”

At the grand opening event, NSSRA announced the naming of the new facility in memory of NSSRA Foundation founding member and former president Dr. Mitchell L. Slotnick. Dr. Slotnick was a member of the NSSRA community for nearly 40 years and was a generous supporter and strong advocate for NSSRA.

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, a longtime friend of Mitch Slotnick, past member of NSSRA’s Board and current member of NSSRA Foundation Board. “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.

Roughly half of the $3.65 million in funds needed to purchase the building came from a capital reserve account created in 2013 when NSSRA Board of Directors, representing 13 partner agencies, identified the need for a new facility. 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 about $3 million of the cost of renovating the facility. NSSRA Foundation’s “A Place to Belong” capital campaign also raised the remaining $2.2 million. For a list of sponsors and donors, visit www.nssrafoundation.org.

NSSRA provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children, teens and adults with disabilities who live in the partner communities. NSSRA is an extension of ten park districts, two cities and one village in the northern suburbs of Chicago. This partnership includes the Park Districts of Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, Kenilworth, Northbrook, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka; the Cities of Highwood and Lake Forest; and the Village of Riverwoods. NSSRA has been creating an environment of belonging through play since 1970, and has the distinction as the first Special Recreation Association in the country. For more information about NSSRA and the programs and services it provides, visit www.nssra.org.

Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association Foundation (NSSRA Foundation) was established in 1997 to support the mission of NSSRA by raising and granting supplemental funding. NSSRA Foundation raises funds throughout the year with all proceeds benefitting the Association. The Foundation, in conjunction with NSSRA, hosts annual events for all donors, supporters and families. The Foundation also raises funds through solicitation of grants and their annual Holiday Appeal. Throughout the year, NSSRA Foundation receives generous support from many individuals, corporations, foundations, businesses and community organizations. For more information about NSSRA Foundation, visit www.nssrafoundation.org.