Baltimore, MD - Dec. 4 - Baltimore Jewish day schools marked the conclusion of the Russel Generations Day School Endowment Project with the announcement that they had raised approximately $15 million in cash and commitments for their endowment funds. That, according to Amy Katz, executive director of the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE), was the largest endowment commitment of any of the four cities which participated in the Generations program.

Launched in 2012 with a lead gift from the Russel family, the Russel Generations Day School Endowment Project was created to help area day schools establish their legacy and endowment programs. A collaboration between PEJE, The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and the AVI CHAI Foundation, it addressed day school’s biggest challenges – providing affordable and excellent education -- while helping to ensure long-term sustainability.

Baltimore was a pilot city in this program, along with Los Angeles, Boston and New York.

“Jewish Day schools exist in a world of unlimited needs with very limited resources,” said Ari Krupp, chair of the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore (TA). “This program created a public awareness for the need to focus on future and long-term funding initiatives.”

In addition to TA, Bais Yaakov School for Girls, Bnos Yisroel of Baltimore, Torah Institute, Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School and Krieger Schechter Day School participated in the three year project.

PEJE and the AVI CHAI Foundation provided coaching, marketing and training support for the six Baltimore schools. The Associated also offered marketing and planned giving assistance.

In a recent celebration of the program’s success, leadership from The Associated, PEJE, AVI CHAI and the six day schools gathered to reflect on the day schools’ endowment accomplishments.

“When the proposition arose to participate in a structured endowment development and training program, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Shlomo Spetner, past president of Bais Yaakov. “Providing us with professional training and working together with a broad range of experts has sharpened our skills and raised our sights.”

The project started more than three years ago when the AVI CHAI Foundation and PEJE approached The Associated and asked if they would be part of a pilot project to build endowment at individual schools. Having demonstrated a long term commitment to day schools over the years, The Associated quickly took on the challenge.

“When it comes to Jewish education, [The Associated] has been way ahead of the curve for many years,” said Rabbi Hillel Tendler, chair of Torah Institute.

Looking ahead, The Russel Generations project is just the beginning. “With the success of Russel Generations, the participating day schools are poised to move forward on a much more sound financial footing, enabled to address innovation, academic excellence and affordability in the years ahead,” said Mark D. Neumann, chair of the board of The Associated.

 “While we may have sprinted to our marathon, we recognize that an endowment is a long-term commitment to our children’s futures,” added Elizabeth Green, first vice president, Bnos Yisroel of Baltimore.