Sure, Everyone SAYS Communities Should Support Day Schools, but Who’s Actually DOING It?

by Charles Cohen

We spend a lot of time learning here at the Affordability Knowledge Center. We learn about how day schools are taking on the affordability challenge. We learn, and we share. Share and learn. And so on.

Today we’re sharing the first Affordability Knowledge Center White Paper. What’s a White Paper? For the Center’s purposes, a White Paper is an in-depth analysis of a particular strategy used by schools or communities trying to solve their particular affordability challenge.

There are two goals. The first is to provide a snapshot of affordability strategies as they exist today, laying out their successes and challenges. Based on interviews, academic research, and other data, these documents will help the field think more effectively about what it takes to meet the ongoing challenge of providing an excellent affordable Jewish day school education to the next generation of committed Jewish leaders.

The second goal is to analyze each strategy so you can learn from communities that have implemented the project. That knowledge will help you decide whether or not to take on the initiative, help you avoid obstacles, and show potential supporters that a given approach can achieve desired outcomes.

The first strategy examined is that of a Kehillah Fund. A Kehillah Fund raises money from the general community (the Kehillah) for Jewish day school education and distributes some or all of that money directly to day schools. We spoke with leadership from five communities: Chicago, MetroWest New Jersey, Montreal, Northern New Jersey and Pittsburgh. They shared their experiences and insights, which we dutifully laid out for you so you can determine whether you should think about creating your own Kehillah Fund. The White Paper provides a few key questions to answer before you begin which will help give your Fund the best chance for success.

But wait! There’s more!

On Tuesday, December 18th at 5:00 p.m. EST, we will host a webinar with Natana Dor from Montreal’s GEN J and Sam Moed from NNJKids. They will go into more detail about their experiences, and allow you to ask them probing questions about their Funds, and the strategy as a whole.

Even if a Kehillah Fund isn’t right for your school, the White Paper provides information and guidance that can be used more broadly in any affordability strategy. I look forward to learning more with you all on December 18th.

Charles Cohen is the manager of the Jewish Day School Affordability Knowledge Center. An attorney in pretentious suffix only, Charles’s prior Jewish communal service includes working at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, where he supported schools and other Jewish organizations in strategic planning and fostering effective collaboration.

cross-posted with PEJE blog