(Published Mar 20, 2019)
Bruce Sklare, the volunteer spearheading Earth Day at the J, gives generously of his time and resources. He said his volunteerism at the J has always been based on his interest in creating partnerships and opportunities for people to improve both the quality of their lives and of the larger community.
He lives and works the core Jewish value of tikkun olam, Hebrew for “helping to repair the world.” This interest hearkens back to his days as the first city planner for West Lafayette, Indiana, establishing the city’s first building code enforcement program and administering the HUD Block Grant Program. As co-principal with his father, Allen Sklare, he built residential communities that paired high quality living with the natural attributes of the properties on which they were located. Over 30 years, they planned and developed 40 residential single-family and multi-family communities throughout Indianapolis, including 6,000 building sites and 400 custom homes.
Today, Bruce owns and manages Sharmrock Self Storage in Carmel, Indiana.
Bruce’s passion in energy-efficient design was sparked by the OPEC oil embargo in the 1970s and continues today. He is the author of Super Insulated House – A Builder’s Perspective, used for years as a textbook for college construction courses. He was selected by Owens-Corning Fiberglas to design and build one of the 36 “Approaching Zero Energy” demonstration homes in the U.S. And Dupont Corporation selected him to be a member of a group to demonstrate and promote “Tyvek” which has become the primary air infiltration barrier used on most new homes built in the U.S.
On a personal note, Bruce owned and managed the three Maggie Moos Super Premium Ice Cream stores in Indianapolis. He believes that “good ice cream brightens a person’s day.” He and wife Marcia met at the Jewish Education Association (the predecessor to the Bureau of Jewish Education). They have three children and seven grandchildren.
Although managing the JCC’s largest event on a volunteer basis consumes a great deal of time and energy, it fits with Bruce’s belief that the most valuable asset a person can offer an organization, and the one with the highest reward for the individual, is their time.
In 2011, Bruce Sklare was asked by the JCC CEO at the time to help find ways to use the woods and natural environment on the east side of the JCC building. After engaging Butler University’s Urban Ecology Department and the Nina Mason EcoLab at Marian University to do the study and gauge member interest in it, Bruce suggested having an Earth Day to celebrate the natural environment.
In April 2012, 2,000 people attended the first Earth Day celebration. The three-hour event featured 27 partnering organizations. At last year’s celebration, 55 national, regional and local organizations and companies presented 85 different earth-friendly activities and demonstrations for 4,500 attendees.