> BUDGET & COSTThe total expenses for the six-year initiative were budgeted to be $12,770,390, and are now projected to be $12,773,831, when the grant culminates on June 20, 2015.
BJE oversight, including professional and support staff time, web design and marketing expense, is expected to be $1,149,445, or 9% of expenses.
Each of the five high schools were eligible for equal amounts of tuition assistance, but used it to assist different numbers of students based on need. The level of staff funding varied based on the particular school’s endowment benchmark. Schools with larger benchmarks received more funds.
> FUNDING & REPORTING CYCLE
The LAHSA initiative model involves a cycle of support and accountability among three parties:
The Funders: Jim Joseph Foundation and Simha and Sara Lainer Day School Endowment Fund
The Central Agency: BJE: Builders of Jewish Education
BJE: Builders of Jewish Education serves as the operating hub, disbursing reimbursements for tuition assistance and development staff costs to the schools and providing reports to the funders on the schools’ endowment achievements. Ongoing reporting and monitoring mechanisms that are critical to the initiative’s structure are detailed below.
School Reports and School Monitoring
While schools are monitored on an ongoing basis to assess compliance with the project’s requirements, formal monitoring and reporting is done on a quarterly basis. BJE monitors LAHSAI student enrollment as well as development progress every quarter. Schools must meet minimal LAHSAI student enrollment quotas each semester, as well as yearly pledge and deposit benchmarks in order to remain in good standing.
Each student that receives LAHSAI tuition assistance is monitored on an ongoing basis until the student graduates or drops from the school. Web applicants who do not enroll are also tracked and information is gathered about the number of contacts, meetings or interactions they had with the school before deciding not to enroll.
Every quarter, schools submit a written progress report on meeting yearly pledge benchmarks along with a written request for quarterly reimbursement of development expenses to BJE. (If a school achieved its yearly pledge benchmark early in the year, however, it is exempt from making additional reports for that year).
Endowment benchmark deposits are due once per year no later than June 30th. If a school does not meet its yearly benchmark deposit by then, both tuition and development reimbursements would be subject to suspension until the school completed its deposit benchmark and once again is in good standing.
Reimbursements to Schools
Schools are reimbursed for tuition assistance and for development staff expense.
Tuition is reimbursed twice each year shortly after the start of the Fall Semester (October) and again after the start of the Spring Semester (February) based on confirmation of required LAHSA initiative student enrollment. In order to receive tuition reimbursement, schools submit a tuition reimbursement form that provides information about the student’s grade level and where they were enrolled in school the previous year. Schools also submit a copy of the student’s web application, confirming that the necessary tracking data has been collected by BJE. The tracking data includes asking the applicant family where they heard about the website/program, the main barriers for enrolling their child in a Jewish high school, the student’s previous school (public, private or other Jewish day school), whether the parent was previously planning to send their child to a Jewish high school before learning about the grant and the family’s first and second choice among the participating high schools to attend. Click here for a preview of the application.
Schools are reimbursed for development expense quarterly. Schools submit a request for development reimbursement, along with appropriate documentation, as well as the above mentioned quarterly progress report, in order to receive reimbursement. As stated above, if a school does not meet its yearly enrollment, pledge or deposit benchmarks, it is subject to suspension of its reimbursement payments.
Visiting and Meeting with Schools
BJE visits the participating high schools regularly throughout the year and meets with leadership at each school on an ongoing basis; maintaining close relationships with both professional staff and lay leadership involved in the project.
Development Staff Meetings and Trainings
In the first two years of the project, BJE brought together all LAHSAI Consortium members, including Heads of School, Development Staff, Admissions Staff, CFO’s and Federation staff twice each year to review the progress of the grant, recommend changes in practices and promote a clear understanding of the project’s goals and expectations for schools in the years ahead. In subsequent years, BJE shifted its focus to lay and professional leadership “on the ground” who were directing and managing the LAHSAI project at their school sites.
From the start, BJE met with and continues to meet with LAHSAI Development Directors on a regular and ongoing basis, both individually and as a group. Development Directors share their challenges and successes and seek information, advice or assistance from BJE on an “as needed” basis.
Each year, BJE convenes 4 – 6 Development Professionals Community of Practice workshops, and since year 3, meetings have been conducted jointly with Development Directors from BJE’s Generations LA project and other day schools in Los Angeles. Presenters have included experts in endowment development, planned giving, donor research and integrated fundraising campaigns from the Jewish Federation of L.A., Jewish Community Foundation of L.A, and other Community Foundations. Development coaches and directors from other educational institutions, like Harvard-Westlake and UCLA, have conducted workshops on numerous topics of relevance, creating a culture of philanthropy and major gifts fundraising and advancement.
LAHSA Initiative Reporting Cycle
While the BJE submits written updates and progress reports to the Jim Joseph Foundation on a regular basis every quarter, the June report each year is a comprehensive summary report of the previous school year’s progress and achievements, and also includes cumulative reporting of progress on the grant’s two primary objectives, increasing enrollment and building endowment in Jewish high schools.
LAHSA Initiative Funding Cycle
At the end of each school year, BJE submits a detailed budget report of the previous school year that includes projected and actual budgets for each specific spending center of the project. The budget is reviewed and audited by the Jim Joseph Foundation, and funding for the following school year is distributed in July or August for the following school year.
For information on the Sustaining the Model click here.
The LAHSAI was a six-year initiative that helped to catalyze the cultural shift in Los Angeles towards both middle income day school affordability and day school endowment development. Because neither of these cultures existed in Los Angeles at the time, schools required a significant investment to convince them to participate. In addition, the Los Angeles Jewish community lacked the infrastructure to successfully raise endowment dollars. Properly developing this infrastructure also required significant funding.
The five LASHAI schools were the first-ever participants in this type of initiative in Los Angeles. The positive outcomes they achieved convinced the rest of the community of the importance of both middle income affordability programs and endowment development. Particularly due to the emphasis on middle income affordability programs and the marketing surrounding this message, the LA community has begun to understand that increasing enrollment of students from middle income families is critical to the viability and sustainability of their schools. While the issue has certainly not been resolved, schools throughout Los Angeles are now providing more financial assistance to middle income families and more middle income families are willing to apply for financial assistance.
Since LAHSAI’s inception, BJE has expanded its support of endowment development to 12 additional day schools. These programs, built on the foundation of the LAHSAI, required significantly lower grant incentives/investments. Schools no longer needed a huge incentive to be convinced of the importance of endowment development. Furthermore, most schools understood the importance of having a robust enough infrastructure to support a multi-prong development effort. It is important to note that in large part, because of the efforts of the Jim Joseph Foundation and the LAHSAI, other foundations and national organizations have made endowment part of a national conversation. This has tremendously aided schools’ current understanding of the need for such a cultural shift.
That being said, the level of funding required to support similar initiatives will depend heavily on the school or community’s readiness to address middle income affordability and endowment development.
Because endowment development is a long-term process, a minimum 4 year program is recommended. The first year is focused on changing the messaging and culture, creating a team of lay and professional leaders that understand the importance of building endowment for their institution, and creating an integrated development plan which ensures that everyone on the team is moving in the same direction.
The following funding ranges should be considered in order to incentivize schools to take on these difficult but critical new directions and to provide the schools with the essential support needed for success:
INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL SPECIFIC COSTS – Per school funding needed would range from $38,750/school/year to $132,500/school/year.
Middle Income Tuition Assistance Range – $25,000-100,000/year
Schools that do not currently have funding to provide middle income tuition assistance will need initial support until their endowment value can generate enough funds to address the middle income need. These dollars must be used to augment and not supplant each school’s current financial aid program. Setting the level of funding needs to take into account current school enrollment, enrollment growth capacity, the cost of tuition, the minimum number of middle income students/year needed to accomplish the cultural shift, the need to sustain funding over the 3-8 years each student is enrolled at the school (depending on whether it is elementary school, middle school or high school) and the school’s ability to realistically raise enough endowment dollars over the four year period to sustain, at a minimum, the same level of middle-income tuition assistance in perpetuity.
The Generations Program (link to http://www.peje.org/learn/knowledge-resources-and-tools/generations/) has shown that on average, a school should be able to raise $2,000-4,000/enrolled student during a three-four year period. Thus a school with 300 students should be able to raise between $600,000 and $1.2 million in endowments. A $1.2 million endowment would yield approximately $ 60,000/year at a 5% return.
Recommendation: The grant level of tuition assistance should match the benchmark cash level of endowment that each school commits to raise (i.e. a school committing to raise $500K would need $25,000/year in grant subsidy, a $1million benchmark school would need $50,000/year, a $2million benchmark school would need $100,000/year)
The number of students funded per year will vary by school based not only on the available tuition subvention but also on actual tuition costs and family needs. The LAHSAI began with a projection of six new students per school per year.
Endowment Coaching Range – $3,750-7,500/school/year
One of the important readiness factors for schools is a development infrastructure already in place that includes: staff focused on development, Head of School and lay leadership committed to the program and a donor tracking system. Thus, while development staff and donor tracking was funded in the LAHSAI model, the financial model recommended for other communities does not include the expenses for the development infrastructure, unless such an infrastructure is totally lacking.
In its place, we found that except schools with the most advanced development infrastructure (only one out of the five LAHSAI schools) coaching was needed to help the leadership team develop an appropriate campaign plan, train staff and lay leadership, help schools implement the campaign plan and stay on course, liaison to central or national agency in order to identify school challenges and opportunities, model solicitations. Click here to read about the Leadership and Fundraising Academy that provided coaching and training for four of the five LAHSAI schools.(link to LFA Final Report document)
The first year requires the most intense work with the coaches in order to accomplish the cultural shift and ensure that the schools are moving in the right direction. Coaching, however, does need to continue at a minimum in years two and three. Schools that desire coaching in year four should be required to fund it out of their budget.
Recommended level of coaching: Up to 40 hours/school for the 1st year, 30 hours/school for the 2nd year and 20 hours/school for the 3rd year. Schools interested in continuing coaching in the 4th year should incorporate this cost into the school budget.
The national standard cost of coaching based on the Leadership and Fundraising Academy and Generations is $187.50/hour
Incentive for Meeting Program Benchmarks – Range: $10,000-25,000/school/year
Changing the communal culture to define and recognize the needs of middle-income families and building endowments to sustain those tuition incentives is challenging. In every institution, many competing priorities and interests can easily derail efforts. The LAHSAI found that cash incentives for meeting endowment benchmarks in a timely manner were essential to keep schools focused and on task. The level of cash incentive needs to be significant enough to deter a school from the risk of losing the grant. Middle-income tuition grants cannot be the incentive as it is unlikely that a funder would reduce or eliminate a student’s tuition subsidy because a school fails to reach its endowment benchmarks.
Scaffolding Support (for 5-10 schools) – $125,000/year
As stated above, the competing priorities and interests facing schools can easily derail the best intentions. It is much easier to stay focused on the task at hand if schools are part of a larger effort that both provides support and requires accountability
A central body (either locally, if there are enough ready schools or nationally) can provide this type of scaffolding. This would include professional staff who convene the schools to share best practices, provides program specific training, holds the schools accountable and focused on their benchmarks and goals, ensures timely and accurate reporting to funders, as well as coordinates program visibility and donor stewardship
In addition, developing and disseminating messaging regarding middle-income needs and the availability of and consideration for tuition assistance is easier and more cost-efficient as a community-wide coordinated effort. Templates can be created centrally to simplify marketing and recruitment messaging and further reduce costs.
1:4 Communal Endowment Match – Cost: 25% of the value of endowment benchmarks accordion
For many schools and donors, it is difficult to understand the importance of raising endowment dollars whose principal cannot be touched and whose benefit they will not receive for at least one year until interest begins to accrue. In the LAHSAI model, another significant incentive in convincing schools to participate was the existence of a 1:4 match for new endowment dollars raised, up to a cap per school, through the Simha and Sara Lainer Day School Endowment Fund (link to Model Components: Financial Incentives for Schools to Raise Endowment Dollars). In a weak stock market, an additional 25% value to a school’s investment is extremely appealing. We have also found that donors, in particular, are motivated to contribute to endowments because of the communal match incentive which immediately increases the value of their investment.
> SUSTAINING THE MODEL
The LAHSAI had several components built in to the design to ensure sustainability. Most importantly, the model recognized that new funding streams had to be created in order to meet the increased cost of middle-income affordability. A requirement of participation in the Initiative was a commitment to raise between $2 – 5 million dollars/school in endowment funds over the six years of the program, based on the size of the school budget. Success in raising these dollars, coupled with a 1:4 match from the community’s Simha and Sara Lainer Day School Endowment Fund, would result in available funds for tuition subsidy/financial assistance ranging from $125,000 to $312,500. The grant required that the endowment annual yield would be used exclusively to continue middle income tuition assistance for the six years following grant funding.
The lay leaders at the majority of the schools in the program have expressed a deep appreciation for, and commitment to, endowment development. Many have publicly stated that they do not intend to stop endowment fundraising when they meet the LAHSAI final endowment benchmark. Rather, their goals are now multiples of the initial fundraising benchmark. BJE will continue to encourage the schools to grow their endowment and believes that the success of the program in meeting the initial benchmarks as well as the impact of the steady funding stream will ensure the model’s sustainability.
- Build it in Your Community
- About the Initiative
- Building & Living the Model
- Defining Affordability
- LAHSAI Model & Description
- Financial Model
- Outcomes & Lessons Learned