Scholarship Fund

Students at Temple Chai Hebrew School wave their Israeli flags at the school’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration on May 2. The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix’s Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund supplements scholarships from all Valley Jewish day schools.

About 75 children who attended local Jewish day schools last year received a supplemental scholarship from the Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund, but with tuition rates rising, more funds will be needed.

The Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund was established in 2005 by Valley philanthropist Sheila Schwartz through the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) of Greater Phoenix. The fund provides scholarships to financially needy Jewish students so they can attend any private primary or secondary Jewish day school from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Thanks to Schwartz and about 1,000 additional donors, today the fund is worth more than $630,000.

All students who have been awarded a scholarship from the Jewish Tuition Organization (JTO) are considered eligible to receive supplemental scholarship funding from the Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund, explained Richard Kasper, JCF president and CEO.

“The goal of the fund is to lower financial barriers to attendance,” he said.

Scholarships can be up to $500 per child, with a maximum of $1,200 awarded per family.

“There is not a separate application process and no separate request is required. Scholarships from the Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund are targeted at families for whom the additional scholarship money may make a meaningful difference in whether family chooses to enroll their child in a Jewish day school,” Kasper said. “The confidential financial analysis that informs the JTO’s scholarship award process also is used for making awards from the Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund.”

Benefits of a Jewish day school education

“As a parent and grandparent of Jewish day school graduates,” Schwartz wrote in an email to Jewish News, “I have been lucky to see firsthand the impact of a day school education. The students receive a high-quality education while gaining confidence, self-esteem and a lifelong love and connection to Israel. As critical thinkers with a day school education, they are able to navigate the global culture on college campuses.

“With a day school education,” she continued, “the Jewish parents’ obligation to educate their children is fulfilled. The dual curriculum instills in the student and their families the values of Jewish ethics, community and a strong Jewish identity.”

Marcia Weisberg, who was the JCF’s executive director when the fund was established, said she was thrilled when Schwartz first announced more than a decade ago that she wanted to establish the Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund.

“We knew this would be a true blessing for some of the neediest families in the Valley who want to ensure their children attend a Jewish day school,” Weisberg said.

Kasper added, “There is no shortage of interested families or need. What is needed is more contributions to the fund so JCF can grow the endowment and enable more children to attend Jewish day school.”

How to contribute

Contributions to the fund are made through the JCF. Individuals can donate online at jcfphoenix.org/give-now. In the field that asks if you would like to contribute to an existing fund, type in “Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund.” Credit card donations also can be made by telephone at 480-699-1717. Or, you can mail a contribution to the JCF’s offices at 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 202, Scottsdale, AZ 85254, and indicate that it is for the Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund. Donors who may be interested in supporting the fund through a gift of stocks or through planned giving from their estates should also directly contact JCF, Kasper said.

“The need is always greater than the dollars available,” Weisberg said. “At the same time, any available funds allocated to Jewish education scholarship help provide assistance to families. Quality Jewish education is expensive.”

Schwartz said more financial support to the Jewish Day School Scholarship Fund brings more opportunities for children and their parents.

“Every Jewish parent should be able to choose a day school,” Schwartz said. JN

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