Samis Foundation and Prizmah Highlight Increased Enrollment in Seattle Jewish Day Schools Participating in Local Day School Affordability Initiative


December 12, 2023


(Seattle) – The Seattle-based Samis Foundation and Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools highlighted enrollment increases at five Seattle area Jewish day schools participating in the Day School Affordability Initiative (DSA). Established in 2022 by the Samis Foundation, the DSA provides funds for Seattle families whose income may be too high to qualify for traditional scholarships, but for whom full tuition would represent more than 15 percent of their gross adjusted income.

“We are absolutely thrilled and inspired to see an exceptional 14 percent increase in enrollment among the five schools participating in the Day School Affordability Initiative,” said Paul Bernstein, CEO of Prizmah. “The Samis Foundation had the vision and commitment to make this community-based initiative possible—and now the local community is experiencing the results. These affordability measures remove a barrier to enrollment in Jewish day schools and yeshivas, further helping the ability of students, families, educators, and schools to excel and thrive.”

The five area schools participating in DSA include The Jewish Day School (JDS), MMSC Day School, Northwest Yeshiva High School (NYHS), Seattle Hebrew Academy (SHA), and Seattle Jewish Community School (SJCS). Data gathered in September 2023 shows that the average enrollment increase was 14 percent with three of the schools seeing an increase of at least 20 percent. Retention rates remain extremely high as well, with most schools seeing an over 90 percent retention rate for this school year.

“The enrollment increase validates the importance and potential of tuition assistance programs,” said Maria Erlitz, Samis trustee and chair of the Day School Sub-committee of the Samis Foundation. “For Seattle, the DSA Initiative is an integral part of our investments into Jewish families and Jewish education. We are grateful for this deep partnership with Prizmah and our local schools that enabled this initiative to happen. We envision a vibrant, passionate, knowledgeable, and committed Jewish community in Seattle, fueled by Jewish day schools, for generations to come.”

The success of the Samis Foundation’s DSA in Seattle mirrors the impact of community-based affordability initiatives in other communities as well. Adds Bernstein of Prizmah, “These initiatives along with a new post-October 7th world are making day schools more in demand. Schools in Seattle and across the country are welcoming new families with open arms.”

Samis Foundation

Founded in 1994 to fulfill the charitable mission and vision of Samuel Israel, the Samis Foundation is Washington State’s largest Jewish philanthropic organization. The Foundation supports intensive, immersive Jewish education in Washington State, and strategic initiatives in the State of Israel. Key funding priorities in Washington include Jewish day schools, overnight Jewish summer camps, teen Israel experiences, and youth enrichment and engagement programs. Priority program areas in Israel include support for people on the peripheries of Israeli society and investments in archaeology and wildlife conservation.


Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools strengthens the North American day school field. We are the network for Jewish day schools and yeshivas, enhancing their ability to excel and thrive, by deepening talent, catalyzing resources, and accelerating educational innovation.