Procession approaching Broadway along  East Union Street bringing a new torah from the donor's house to Congregation Agudas Achim on West Union Street,  c. 1955.

Procession approaching Broadway along East Union Street bringing a new torah from the donor’s house to Congregation Agudas Achim on West Union Street,
c. 1955.

Hand in hand with beginning its restoration efforts, the committee also initiated a process to define a vision and mission for the institution that would eventually fill the newly restored Bakery buildings with programs and exhibits.  In speaking with other community members and visiting other museums and cultural centers, the committee saw that the story the Bakery had to tell was larger than that of the Jewish community alone.  The story of the Reher family was the story of all immigrant and ethnic groups that set down roots in the greater Kingston area from the early19th century up to the present day.  The power of the project was in a message of inclusiveness.  The committee soon changed its name again to reflect the broader scope of its mission to the name that we use today: the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History Committee.

The committee was very fortunate to secure grants from New York State and the City of Kingston to begin the restoration process, but was quick to recognize the need to put together a fundraising team.  After retiring as Ulster County Treasurer after nine terms in that position in 2009, Lewis Kirschner, born and raised in Rondout, joined the committee as the Honorary Fundraising Chair in 2010. He is being assisted by the rest of the committee, along with our fundraising consultant, Ingrid Kulick, of Forward Solutions, Rhinebeck, New York. Ingrid has been with us almost from the beginning, helping organize our fundraising efforts at several stages in our development, and with formulating our business plan.  Ingrid has worked on successful campaigns for a number of local not-for-profits.

In 2015, with the initial phase of the building restoration completed, the committee again decided it was time to expand, this time to include community members with strong backgrounds in museum and community development, and deep interests in history and the arts.  Jack Braunlein, Nancy Donskoj, Kevin Godbey, and Ward Mintz, have joined the team, bringing years of experience to the project.

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