Baltimore-area philanthropies changing the way they fund day schools


(Baltimore Jewish Times) — Two Baltimore-based philanthropies are paring down a coordinated tuition grant program for area Jewish day schools but will still be giving to the schools.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation along with the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore made the announcement last week about the planned end of a six-year, $16 million Jewish day school scholarship initiative and their future allocations to the schools. Ten Baltimore-area schools are benefiting from the current initiative.

In the past six years, the Weinberg Foundation has provided $1 million for the first year, then $2 million a year for five years for a total of $11 million for the schools. The Associated matched that with another $5 million.

Going forward, Weinberg will allocate $5 million to the schools over the next five years. That includes $1.7 million for the 2012-13 school year, with a gradual reduction of funds over the subsequent four years. At the same time, the Associated will increase its commitment to Baltimore Jewish day schools, adding an additional $3 million match over the next five years. The Associated dollars are expected to come from an increase in core allocations from its annual campaign as well as a commitment to raise restricted funds for day schools.

The money is in addition to the current $2.1 million allocated annually by the Associated to the schools.

Linda Hurwitz, resource development chair at the Associated, emphasized that the ability to allocate funding for day schools will be dependent on the annual campaign to raise additional money.

“Putting food on the table and a roof over someone’s head is equally important. We have to continue to provide a safety net,” she said.

Local day school heads expressed their appreciation of both the Weinberg Foundation and the Associated for making day school education a priority and for their continued efforts at providing funding for scholarship needs. However, several admitted that they will have to step up efforts to make up the difference from the overall decreased grant money available.

“We were aware that Weinberg was ending,” said Dr. Paul Schneider, headmaster of the Krieger Schechter Day School. “We met with [them] to encourage them to not just end it [completely], but to do it in a gradual way. That’s exactly what they did.”

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