O.U. floats idea for emergency fund for schools


NEW YORK (JTA) — The Orthodox Union is considering creating an emergency fund to help cash-strapped day schools and yeshivas.

The O.U. on Tuesday night floated the idea of collecting a pool of money to help day schools that are in dire financial need at a meeting of representatives from Orthodox schools. It convened the meeting at its Manhattan headquarters to discuss the economic downturn and its effect on the day school system.

The fund would provide money for schools that have immediate cash flow issues and cannot meet basic expenses. A component that would give schools cash advances they would have to be pay back also could be included.

The O.U. will judge the schools’ interest at a follow-up teleconference on Monday, its president, Stephen Savitsky, told the JTA philanthropy blog The Fundermentalist on Wednesday.

If schools are interested, the organization would immediately hold an emergency meeting of its board of governors to set criteria to determine which schools would be eligible for help and to set about raising money for the fund.

Savitsky said the O.U. would reach out to foundations and private donors, but would not expect a mega-donor to provide huge funding at this point. Rather it could depend on smaller donations over a sustained period of time.

Participating schools would have to be transparent with their financial books to ensure they are in need.   

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