Research Corner: Jewish Day School Development Trends

Odelia Epstein, Director, Prizmah's Knowledge Center

In March, Prizmah published a development pulse survey focused on annual campaign and endowment. The survey was completed by development professionals and heads of school. It captured data of 118 schools in the United States and Canada, representing broad geographic, religious and enrollment diversity. Community/non-denominational, Conservative, pluralistic and Reform schools comprised 60% of the respondents, and Orthodox/Modern Orthodox schools 40%.

Key Findings

While many feared that the pandemic would negatively affect fundraising, this survey reveals a positive trend for Jewish day school and yeshiva annual campaigns. In the school year 2020-2021, in the midst of the pandemic, 80% of respondents were able to raise the funds needed to meet their annual campaign goals. Two-thirds reported they exceeded their fundraising goals. The average amount raised increased by $17,000 over the previous year.

The percentage of schools reporting that they did not reach their annual campaign goal has decreased from 45% in 2019-2020 to 21% in 2020-2021. The percentage of schools reaching their fundraising goals has increased dramatically. Eighty-one percent of respondents projected that their school will meet or exceed their 2021-2022 fundraising goals.

In addition, parent participation in school annual campaigns did not decrease from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. Seventy-two percent of schools reported that parent participation has remained steady or increased from the prior year.

The survey also found optimistic news about endowments. Overall, the pandemic did not cause schools to shift focus solely to annual campaigns and forget about endowment giving. Forty schools reported they’re currently engaged in an endowment campaign and raised approximately $26 million in 2020-2021.

When asked to report endowment valuation as of June 30, 2021, the top two reported endowment valuations were $62 million and $54 million, versus $46 million and $45 million in the prior year. The significant increase is the result of both strong stock market performance and schools securing additional endowment funds. That said, the market has fluctuated since June 30, 2021, and the valuations likely have changed in tandem with market variation.

Of the 118 respondents, only 27 report that their school does not have an endowment. Nearly 50% of those schools reported they are interested in launching an endowment campaign within the next five years. This survey indicates that the creation of an endowment is becoming a well-established norm in our field.

Check out this survey and more Prizmah research here:

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HaYidion Spring 2022, Value Proposition
Value Proposition
Spring 2022