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entries tagged with: Day School Education

 

UJA-NNJ to host national day-school fundraising confab

Raising money for day schools isn’t just a calling; it’s a profession. Six area day school development professionals will be getting a boost next week, as the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education holds a two-day seminar at the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey offices in Paramus.

Entitled “Beyond the Gala,” the seminar wants to help day schools move from a traditional approach of fundraising through an annual dinner journal toward the more strategic methods of cultivating donors used by universities and other major non-profit organizations.

PEJE, which is based in Boston, expects a total of 53 professionals from 44 day schools across the country to attend the seminar, which is aimed at fundraisers with five years or less experience. A second seminar targeting more experienced fundraisers will be held in Westchester in July.

“This is another way our federation is helping to support our day schools,” said Minna Heilpern of the federation’s Jewish Educational Service’s division.

The federation will be unveiling a new strategic plan next month, and one of the four priorities under the plan is “to enhance the affordability and accessibility of Jewish cultural and learning experiences.”

With day schools in Bergen County and elsewhere seeking to make themselves more affordable by increasing fundraising, they need to change their approach to donors, says Jennifer Weinstock, strategy manager at PEJE and coordinator of the conference.

“How can we move the schools to thinking in a more strategic way about their annual campaign? Instead of simply asking people for money, we need to be talking about the values our day schools care about and how to connect to people who share those values. If you’re The Moriah School in Englewood — to take a local example — and one of your values is a deep connection to Israel, there are other donors who share those values.,” she said.

Weinstock said school board members may need to adopt new attitudes toward fundraising.

“If you’re going to be on the board of a day school, you should be supporting the school philanthropically.” she said.

“Another expectation is that all board members carry some financial development portfolios. There are so many roles board members can play, from serving as ambassadors to talking about the school in a positive way at the Shabbat table, and all of these roles are part of development. It’s not just about solicitation,” she said.

According to Heilpern, UJA-NNJ will take advantage of the presence of PEJE leadership to hold a special meeting with its leadership and Rabbi Joshua Elkin, executive director of PEJE. Elkin will share what he has learned from communities across the country about how their federations and day schools collaborate and will lead a discussion about the strategies that might be applicable locally.

 
 

RYNJ scholarship fund richer by $500,000

Yeshiva credits reception’s success to new communal attitude

The Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey’s annual scholarship reception Sunday night raised more than half a million dollars — a three-quarters increase over the amount raised last year.

Mordy Rothberg, the school’s vice president of development, attributes the fundraiser’s success to a new communal attitude toward supporting day school education.

“We’re a recipient of all the work the community has done to make awareness that Jewish education is not just a parental obligation, but a communal obligation,” he said.

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The organizers of the RYNJ scholarship reception, board members Mordy Rothberg, left, and Menachem Schechter, right, flank one of the evening’s speakers, Yeshiva University President Richard Joel. courtesy RYNJ

“During these tough economic times, there’s a real big focus on giving locally and supporting Jewish education. One of the benefits of the community setting up NNJKids” — the umbrella fund for Bergen County’s day schools — “is that we’re really making Jewish education a priority.”

Rothberg serves on the board of the parent organization of NNJKids, Jewish Education for Generations, as a representative of the yeshiva, in which his five children are enrolled.

The economic climate has also meant that “unfortunately, scholarship recipients are at an all time high,” said Rothberg, with the school awarding more than $1 million in scholarships.

“The community is committed to giving a quality education to every single family regardless of their ability to pay. I think the community as a whole is really stepping up and saying this is a communal obligation and a communal responsibility,” he said.

The school saw a significant increase in parental participation for the fundraiser, with 275 families contributing, up from 211 last year. The school has 982 students from about 425 families. About 120 families receive scholarships.

In recent years, the scholarship event has morphed from a catered dinner to a dessert reception organized and catered by parent volunteers.

“Our cost, including invitations and food, was less than $3,000,” said Rothberg.

 
 
 
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