The Jewish day school field may have come late to the endowment party, but they are quickly catching up (and they brought chips!). Through programs like Generations—PEJE’s partnership with the AVI CHAI Foundation to help communities and schools build day school endowments—day schools are getting the training and support they need to think about development beyond this year’s annual campaign.
Generations’ model for raising endowment funds has seven steps:
1. Creating a culture of philanthropy
2. Writing an endowment development plan
3. Creating a case statement for endowment giving
4. Determining how to invest endowment funds
5. Identifying and training your professional and lay leadership
6. Identifying, cultivating, and soliciting donors
7. Recognition and publicity
That list can present any number of challenges for a day school that’s just reaching the point where annual fundraising is a fairly smooth operation. But for schools looking to endowment development to address affordability, it can be even more daunting, if only because of the immediate pressure affordability can place on a school.
Today we’re publishing the Affordability Knowledge Center’s fourth white paper: “’So I, too, Plant These for My Children’: Endowment Development.” After the interviews, the research, and the data collection, this is the fundamental takeaway I learned about endowment development and affordability. For this year, or next year, endowment may not be the answer to your school’s affordability challenge. But five, 10, 20 years from now, the endowment funds you raise today will help you provide more financial aid, invest in academic excellence, and buy Internet-ready neural implants for your kindergartners (or whatever the 2035 version of being a tablet-based school looks like).
So have patience. Let your endowment grow, and don’t give up. In the meantime, there are plenty of other strategies to try out between now and 2035, when day schools will be taught by our new robot overlords, and Trader Joe’s will once again make pareve chocolate chips—only to yank them from shelves again in 2036 just as we start taking them for granted.