European Jewish Community Day School Crisis Fund announces $2.7 million in Grants to 13 Schools

Seven funders have joined together to strengthen the future of Jewish education in communities across Europe.

The Jewish School of Helsinki; courtesy.

European Jewish community day schools are unique, irreplaceable institutions.
Professor David Latchman, Chairman of the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation

The detrimental economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened European day schools, which play a central role connecting children and families to the local Jewish community and educating future leaders. Without additional support, many of the schools would be unable to provide tuition relief to families affected by the crisis, and other schools face existential risk of closure. Most of the beneficiary schools were in precarious financial positions before the pandemic hit. Now, with parents struggling to pay tuition as well as regular donors unable to support the schools at previous levels, the situation has become dire.

Educating for Impact (EFI), a London-based nonprofit organization that promotes strategic change in Jewish schools to secure and strengthen Jewish communities in Europe, supports schools in 19 cities across the continent. Five of EFI’s partners have come together alongside two external funders to launch the European Jewish Community Day School Crisis Fund. 

Communities experiencing hardship applied for grants, and funds were allocated based upon the following criteria: increased scholarship needs, decreased donor funding, decreased community funding, and increased costs related to compliance with health guidelines. Grants awarded range from 75,000 euros to 405,000 euros (approximately $89,000-$479,000).

Most schools are opening the school year and their buildings under significant public health regulations and social distancing guidelines, requiring them to adjust schedules, change teaching assignments, and invest in new technologies. At the same time, schools are planning distance learning curricula in preparation for the potential need to shut down again. Many schools have had their start date adjusted many times by local authorities.

All communities which applied for grants received support. The communities include:

  • Athens (Lauder Athens Jewish Community School)
  • Barcelona (Colegio Hatikva)
  • Berlin (Lauder Beth-Zion School)
  • Helsinki (Helsinki Jewish Community School)
  • Leeds (Brodetsky Primary School)
  • Madrid (Ibn Gabirol School)
  • Milan (School of the Jewish Community of Milan)
  • Moscow (Lauder Etz-Chaim School of Moscow)
  • Prague (Lauder School of Prague)
  • Rome (Rome Jewish Community School)
  • Sofia (Ronald S. Lauder School in Sofia)
  • Tallinn (Jewish Community of Estonia Education System)

The crisis fund is funded by the following EFI partners:

  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 
  • Ronald S. Lauder Foundation 
  • Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation 
  • Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe 
  • An anonymous donor

And two external funders:

  • Maimonides Fund 
  • Mikhail Fridman