Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund

Knowledge Topics
Fundraising & Development
Catalyzing Resources

JCRIF Update: Assisting Schools with Escalating Tuition Assistance Needs

In the midst of these incredibly challenging times, we are grateful to the funders who have stepped up to support Jewish communal organizations and day schools through the creation of the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF). Prizmah was asked to identify both the emergency needs of schools as well as to gather ideas to address the need for systemic change as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Prizmah identified two key priorities for emergency needs:

  • Funds needed to support schools facing urgent and significant increases in the need for tuition assistance
  • The need to support Jewish communal professionals who have been laid-off or furloughed and would be financially unable to keep their children in day schools

We are pleased to share that we have been able to provide 64 schools with emergency grants for tuition assistance to address both of these needs. We have also processed 19 recommendations for schools that applied for JCRIF loans.

At the invitation of JCRIF funders, we also invited the field to submit ideas for an aligned grant program intended to spur new opportunities, ideas and technologies related to adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis. To address the acute immediate financial needs of the day school field and other sectors, the JCRIF funders have prioritized funding to address emergency needs at this time. The ideas and input generated from the field illuminated key areas of need in this changing landscape, most significantly the importance of supporting students' mental health and wellness, and investing in professional development for teachers to continue to build their skills for virtual instruction and student support. We are committed to expanding our work in these areas and will continue to pursue opportunities for funding for the exciting ideas that you and others in the field developed, as well as partnerships that can help you advance and grow impact.


JCRIF Emergency Funding for Tuition Assistance

Prizmah is pleased to announce emergency funds for Jewish day schools and yeshivas in the U.S. and Canada, to address the substantial increase in demand for tuition assistance as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This fund is supported by the Jewish Communal Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) and we are grateful for their leadership and generosity. 

This is an extraordinary opportunity to get the help we need to our schools. These emergency funds will support Prizmah schools in two areas: providing grants to a limited number of Jewish day schools who face especially large increases in tuition assistance in the coming year; and funding to meet tuition assistance needs of families, where a parent is a Jewish communal professional who has lost their job or been furloughed as a result of COVID-19 since March 1, 2020. 

Emergency Funds to Schools with Large Increases in Tuition Assistance Needs

Schools are facing increased demand for tuition assistance as a result of the current crisis. A limited number of small and medium-sized Prizmah schools* will therefore be eligible for one-time grants of $50,000 USD - $100,000 USD based on especially large needs related to increases in overall tuition assistance in the 2020-2021 school year. We anticipate funding sufficient to provide grants to approximately 20-30 schools, with priority given to those schools with the highest increases in demand for tuition assistance and will be given to schools that have not already received emergency grants or funds (foundations, Federations, etc.) to assist with expected increases in tuition assistance requests related to the COVID-19 crisis.  Applications that will be considered need to meet the following criteria:

  • Decline of 20% or more in expected net tuition revenue in the 2020-2021 school year as compared to the 2019-2020 school year
  • Have a 10-year or longer history of operation (this can include merged schools with a combined 10-year history)
  • Small to mid-size schools with 2019-2020 school year student enrollment of up to 500 (K-8) and up to 600 (K-12) which have a three-year history of stable or growing student enrollment
  • Prizmah network affiliation and/or prior or current participation in one or more Prizmah programs or services

The application is now closed

Emergency Funds to Support Jewish Communal Professionals

Funds are available to Prizmah schools* providing increased tuition assistance for children whose parent(s) are full-time** Jewish communal professionals, and who have recently been terminated or furloughed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Families are eligible to receive a one-time tuition grant of up to $5,000 for each student currently enrolled in the school  (capped at $50,000 per school). These funds will be paid to the school and should be credited to a qualifying family’s tuition bill. 

  • Parent of a currently enrolled Jewish Day School student(s) in grades K-12, or newly enrolled students in grades K-12, for the 2020-2021 school year 
  • A full time** Jewish communal professional that has been terminated or been furloughed since March 1, 2020 and has not secured another full-time position
  • School confirms family qualifies for Tuition Assistance 
  • Prizmah network affiliation and/or prior or current participation in one or more Prizmah programs or services

The application is now closed

If you have questions, you can contact us at 

*  “Prizmah schools” requires Prizmah network affiliation and/or previous or current participation in one or more Prizmah programs or services

**  “Full-time” means 30 hours per week or more

Commonly Asked Questions about the JCRIF Emergency Funding for Tuition Assistance

How do I check if I am a Prizmah member network affiliate?

Contact us directly at if you are unsure of your Prizmah network status.

If my school is not, are we still eligible for the grant?

If your school is awarded the grant, you need to complete your prizmah network affiliate for the 2020-2021 school year.

When is the deadline?

The deadline for submission is June 15, 2020 8:00 ET/5:00 PT.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.

What goes into total school operating expenses? 

Operating expenses include everything it costs to run your school.  Please be sure to include any rent payment or any ongoing loan payments.  

We have Jewish Communal Professionals that are parents in our school that took pay cuts, can we include them?

No, this grant is only available for Jewish Communal Professionals whose full-time positions have been terminated or furloughed as a result of COVID-19.  

What is a Jewish Communal Professional?

A Jewish Communal Professional is an individual who works at a Jewish Communal non-profit organization (typically 501(c)3 organizations and synagogues).

How does a family with a parent that was employeed as a Jewish Communal Professional that has been terminated or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 get the $5,000 grant?

Schools need to apply on behalf of the family. For qualifying families that receive the $5,000 grant, payment will be sent to the school and the school will credit the families balance on their tuition bill (to be applied toward the balance owed after tuition assistance).


The Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund

The Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), is a $91 million aligned grant and loan fund.The JCRIF is a unique collaboration between Jewish foundations, the Federation system, and individual major donors. Over the coming months, JCRIF’s multi-million-dollar support will take two forms: interest-free loans and aligned grantmaking. Prizmah is partnering with JCRIF to help schools and the day school field access and leverage these resources as much as possible within the limits available and target the support where it can impact the most.

JCRIF interest-free loans are designed to provide short-term assistance to buy breathing room and preserve critical organizations, such as schools. The aligned grant program is intended to help the field, with an emphasis on sector-wide or collective change, while also offering certain emergency funds to help prevent the collapse of community institutions.  The JCRIF funders have asked intermediary organizations to work with their constituents on grant proposals and have encouraged proposals from consortiums or collaborations of schools, or intermediaries.

Thankfully, the philanthropists who collaborated to create the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), understand this and are providing organizations dedicated to education, engagement and leadership the opportunity to access funds for their immediate needs and for creative forward-thinking efforts. On behalf of Jewish day schools, Prizmah is grateful to all the funders who have come together to create the JCRIF: 

Aviv Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, Jim Joseph Foundation, Maimonides Fund, The Paul E. Singer Foundation, Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation and Wilf Family Foundation, in partnership with Jewish Federations of North America.

You can read more about JCRIF by clicking here.

The application is now closed

The JCRIF loan fund is designed to be an emergency fund for borrowers and is meant to serve as a bridge to alternative source funding and ordinary course revenues. Loans for an individual institution will generally be a minimum of $150,000. With a total loan pool of approximately $10 million being allocated to day schools, an individual school may request significantly more than the $150,000 minimum. The maximum loan amount will be determined once we have a better indication as to the number of schools applying for loans and the amounts they are asking for. Loans will be provided at 0% interest and are repayable over a 4-year period, with no payments during the first year. In general, the loans are intended for schools and other organizations facing conditions or situations in which these loans could serve as an effective bridge. Before applying, schools should carefully consider the likelihood of future revenues enabling them to repay loans, rather than creating unhelpful pressure on finances. Prizmah can provide guidance on the suitability of a loan for your school following completion of the short intake form below. 

The in-take form is now closed

The aligned grant program is intended primarily to spur new opportunities, ideas, and technologies related to adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis. Strong applications might include ideas, programs, or services around: conceptualizing and enabling sector-wide change; providing sector- or network-wide support for immediate, emerging needs that result from the crisis; doubling down on promising investments to accelerate communal evolution; preserving and/or revitalizing core programs and assets that are essential to thriving Jewish communities; and advancing strategic transactions, including consolidations, mergers, or structured wind-downs. Grant sizes range from approximately $200,000 to $1 million.

In certain circumstances, the funders may provide emergency funding for institutions experiencing exceptional financial hardship, especially those deemed "essential" to their communities.  While submissions can be done by either individual schools or school consortiums, Prizmah expects to combine and modify certain proposals so that more institutions from more communities are collaborating around a similar idea, concept, or program. By way of example, if Prizmah receives five separate proposals in cost savings related to blended learning, Prizmah may elect to combine and modify the five separate proposals into one or two, larger proposals for submission to the funders.

Prizmah will contact schools regarding next steps after completing the review of all the intake forms.  Based on information provided, Prizmah will extend invitations to move to the next phase in joining collaborative proposals for submission to JCRIF.

The Role of Intermediaries, Central Agencies, and Other Service Providers to Schools

The grant program is intended primarily to provide support for schools as they develop new responses to the myriad of challenges they face as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Intermediaries, central agencies, and other service providers can play an important role in convening schools and in catalyzing collaborations among them.

Intermediaries, central agencies, and service providers may submit grant proposals, but such proposals must be on behalf of one or more schools who have committed to working with the agency on the idea, program, or service that is being proposed. It is Prizmah's belief that the grant funders will look more favorably on applications where intermediaries, central agencies, or service providers are contributing their own resources (financial and "in-kind") in collaboration with the schools.


A recording of the webinar about the JCRIF program on May 13th along with the slide deck and notes can be found by clicking here.  


If you have questions about the loans or the grants you can visit the JCRIF FAQ page, or contact us at