Endowment Fund for School Choice
​Because a Jewish Soul should be nurtured; not squandered

Questions/Comments

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We welcome your feedback. Please e-mail your questions and comments to [email protected].​​

Q:  Are the scholarships need-based?​

A: No. The educational vouchers are not based on financial need. Once a school is selected, 100% of the eligible students would receive the voucher. First of all, it doesn't make sense to set up a costly and cumbersome screening process when nearly all families of yeshiva students are hurting and in need of financial aid. Maybe a few wealthy families will slip by and receive vouchers who could afford to pay. In our experience, these uber-wealthy families are few & far between. Secondly, we're also appealing to non-religious Jews. Non-religious families are generally more price-sensitive. Even if they can afford it, many of these non-religious families will chose the free public schools over yeshivas. If the voucher subsidies will help to get some of these children out of the public schools and into yeshivas, it's worth the cost.    Finally, yeshivas can't be expected to accept students for free and still pay livable wages to the faculty.  Providing vouchers to all students will incentivize yeshivas to accept students whose families don't have the financial means to pay tuition.


Q:  What % of donations go towards administration/salaries vs scholarships? ​

​A:  At the present time, we're in the process of standing up the Endowment Fund & haven't distributed any scholarships.  100% of the Board & Staff work as Volunteers with no pay.  In the future, we project the overhead rate to be in the single digits.  We will publish our financials for everyone to see.  The Endowment Fund will only be funding schools based on a verified alpha-roster.  We won't be running schools or devising curriculums.  We will operate more like a scholarship fund with minimal staff.  In this manner, we project our financial statements to reflect the vast majority of funds raised and dividends received to either be growing the endowment fund or funding vouchers.
Q:  It must be expensive to start an endowment fund.  Where are your start-up monies coming from?​

A:  As of 5/30/16, 100% of the funds raised have come from the founders' personal assets.  Our payback will be if the Endowment Fund becomes successful.​
Q: To fully fund the vouchers, how much are you looking to raise?

A: The goal of the Endowment Fund is to provide every Jewish day school student in the country with a $10,000/yr voucher. Per the "Census of Jewish Day Schools in the U.S." produced by The Avi Chai Foundation, for the 2013-14 school year, there were 234,000 students in K-12. Thank g-d, the numbers are growing. There's probably now around 240,000 Jewish day school students. Providing each student a $10k/yr voucher would require $2.4 billion/year. In order to generate $2.4 billion/year, assuming the Endowment Fund earns 6% in high-yielding REITS and corporate bonds, the Endowment Fund would need a principal of $40.0 billion.
Q: Instead of vouchers, why not get behind OU and others to lobby for my aid to private schools and yeshivas?

A: Out of fairness, in theory, Jewish day school children should receive the same financial aid from cities, States and the Federal Government as children who go to public schools. As an illustrative example, college students who are awarded federal Pell Grants can use these financial aid awards in private or public colleges. However, for school-age children, in grades K-12, who wish to attend private school, the sad reality is that discrimination against these children is rampant. We applaud the efforts of OU and others in lobbying to obtain textbook, special-ed funds and other subsidies for children attending private schools. Their efforts are to be commended. The problem with OU's efforts is that it's too little. A hundred or couple hundred dollars of aid is welcome but barely makes a dent in the cost of schooling. We don't anticipate the indifference to privately educated students ending anytime soon. Given that the vast majority of America's children attend Government-run public schools; combined with the strong Public Teacher Union control of Governors and Statehouses, it is highly unlikely that Jewish Day Schools will be placed on a level playing field with public schools anytime soon. In the far-off future, if trends continue and the parents of the Jewish Day School population grows to be a factor in political elections, then it may be possible to end the discrimination faced by children who attend private school. Until that day comes, The Endowment Fund for School Choice is needed to make Jewish day school affordable.



Q: What about English-Hebrew Charter schools, such as Ben Gamla Charter School in South Florida?

A: The problem with these Hebrew-oriented charter schools is they're not allowed to teach religion. Whether you agree with the decisions of the States and Courts, the U.S. Constitutional Amendment of ". . . no law respecting an establishment of religion. . ." has been interpreted to mean no assistance to any religion for any reason. We don't agree with this interpretation. But it's reality and it's why these Hebrew Charter schools are no substitute for privately run Jewish day schools. So while these Hebrew-oriented Charter schools may do a great job of teaching Hebrew language and Jewish culture, they can't assist in infusing Jewish children with Torah, Talmud and religion. Different plans to address the Hebrew Charter School shortcomings have been tried, such as religious Jewish studies before or after school. Anyone who has looked at the demise of after-school Hebrew attendance in the Reform/Conservative world knows the problems with this arrangement. Unfortunately, while Ben Gamla and other Hebrew Charter Schools are probably superior to regular Public Schools, they fall far short of a genuine Jewish education.


Q:  Will you fund all Jewish day schools or only religious/Charedi day schools?

A:  Once a Jewish day school is selected, 100% of the eligible students would receive the voucher.  "Jewish Day School" means a school which educates students of the Jewish faith, in K to 12th grade, in a program which includes Jewish-specific areas of study and which has a student body which is overwhelmingly Jewish .  The school can offer both in-class and distance learning.  Students may be in mainstream and/or special-ed programs.  The Jewish Day Schools may be aligned with the traditional (aka Orthodox), reform, conservative movements and/or unaffiliated schools.  The stream of Judaism followed by the school is irrelevant.  Like our slogan says, ". . .  a Jewish Soul should be nurtured; not squandered."  The surest way of losing the next generation of Jews is to allow our children to attend public schools.  The surest way of passing on the Jewish Legacy is by our children attending a traditional Jewish Day School.  While statistics show religious schools are the future, we will fund children in the reform and conservative movement schools if the schools apply and are accepted.
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Q:  Will you fund after-school Hebrew school?

A:  No, we will not fund after-school Hebrew school.  While all Jewish education is important, we're only funding Jewish day school.  After-school Hebrew school does impart some benefit to the students.  However, after-school Hebrew programs also seem to impart a lot of resentment on the part of the students who end up viewing their experience unfavorably.  For these reasons, the Endowment Fund's focus will only be full-time Jewish Day Schools.
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​Q:  How much does the average yeshiva education cost?

A: 
It's hard to tell exactly how much the cost of yeshiva is.  We know tuition and fees range anywhere between about $12,000 to $30,000 per year.  The problem is that these ranges are for full-paying students.  Full-paying students are indirectly subsidizing students who attend for free.  The best way of approximating the true cost of a yeshiva education would be to take a school's annual expenses and divide by the number of students, i.e., $1 mill divided by 100 students would be $10,000/per student.  To our knowledge, no study exists which provides this information.  For these reasons, we project a $10,000/yr voucher will seriously reduce the cost of tuition for all students.  It probably won't make schooling free for everyone.  But it will definitely reduce costs.  Given that the subsidized students will now be showing up with a $10,000/yr voucher, it will take a financial burden off of the paying students.  In this manner, we project the paying students would see a reduction of greater than $10,000 in their tuition.  If not, the free market would cause more cost-efficient schools to open up.