Building Endowment Through Generations

Daniel Spiegel

The launch of the Generations Endowment Campaign seven years ago, in partnership with BJE (Builders of Jewish Education) and PEJE (Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education), was a visionary advancement in securing a sustainable and vibrant future for our school.

The numbers speak for themselves. During the three years our school participated in the Generations Campaign, from 2012-2015, our existing endowment increased by almost 40%. Even more remarkable is the fact that donations increased each of the three years we participated in the program, despite the challenging economic environment.

These successes were made possible because of the extraordinary learning opportunity Generations provided us. With expertise provided by BJE and PEJE coaches, our administrators and lay leadership team initiated a fundraising infrastructure that would make successful endowment giving possible. For the first time, our school crafted a major-gifts plan, developed a gift-acceptance policy, and implemented a moves-management strategy to effectively cultivate and steward prospective donors. Later in the campaign, our school also created a case statement and implemented a planned-giving program.

Generations changed philanthropic conversations in our community. Our lay leaders and professionals took advantage of every opportunity to educate our families about the significant impact a healthy endowment will have on our school’s viability. Our team also engaged all members of our community in the endowment discussion, planning large and intimate events to engage alumni, alumni parents and grandparents.

These efforts led to success. As reflected by the diverse ages and ethnicities of our Generations donors, the Generations Campaign was a true community effort. Of the 37 donors who participated, approximately a third were current parents, a third are alumni parents, and a third are grandparents.

Although the Generations Endowment Campaign concluded three years ago, the initiative’s impact will be felt far into the future. The culture of endowment giving established during Generations is even more relevant among our donor community today.

Since the conclusion of the Campaign in 2015, seven Generations donors pledged additional endowment gifts at the same or increased levels. In addition, several families not previously involved in the Generations Campaign pledged major gifts in the past three years. Our school’s endowment has grown to its current level of $15 million.

Affordability and accessibility continue to challenge enrollment, as tuitions rise and incomes remain flat. Our school’s endowment, much of which was raised through the Generations Campaign, has supplied the necessary funds for tuition assistance. More than 30% of our families receive financial assistance, enabling them to benefit from our educational experience. I am confident in saying that our students today directly benefit from the opportunities provided by PEJE, BJE, our lay leaderships, administrators and donors in our Generations Endowment Campaign.

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HaYidion In These Times Winter 2019
In These Times
Winter 2019