LA High School Affordability Initiative Model and Description

The LAHSAI was created using a theory of change model that defines the unique challenges of the Los Angeles Jewish community, recommended inputs (structure of the grant support), key strategies for achieving program goals, targeted constituencies (schools and middle-income families), a program timeline with benchmarks and interim goals, the desired outcome of the program and the anticipated long-term effects from the initiative.



    The following assumptions informed the design of the LAHSAI and served as the underlying framework for the LAHSAI Model:

    lightFaced with the financial realities of LA’s high cost of living, many middle income families are deterred from even considering – let alone enrolling – their high school age children in Jewish high schools while other families have their children begin Jewish high school but drop out before graduation. In many instances, there is a nearly 40 percent jump in tuition cost from Jewish middle school to high school.

    lightMany middle income families do not believe that they can afford four years of a Jewish high school for each child. Among these families, some are either embarrassed to apply for financial aid or do not believe that they would qualify.

    lightSubstantial funding support for teens of middle income families will lead to an incremental increase in enrollment at the five Los Angeles high schools over a six year period.

    lightJewish high schools are deterred from accepting students without prior Jewish day school background due to the high cost of Mechina classes these students need in order to fully participate in high school-level Judaic programs.

    lightJewish families are deterred from applying to Jewish high schools because they do not believe that their child can succeed if they have not previously attended a Jewish elementary or middle school.

    lightBy providing schools with subsidies for Mechina programs, Jewish high schools will be more willing to accept and educate students from limited Hebrew language and Judaic backgrounds. Therefore, more families will consider enrolling their child in a Jewish high school.

    lightMost Jewish high schools do not have the infrastructure for effective annual fundraising let alone the resources required to launch endowment programs. Funds that are raised are most often used to fund annual scholarships and/or immediate school operation needs.

    lightIf Jewish high schools are provided with funds to hire development professionals, and presented with financial incentives to create long-term endowments, they will begin to build their capacity and lay the groundwork for effective fundraising.

    lightBased on research demonstrating the positive outcomes of an extensive (six or more years) Jewish education, especially in the high school years, ,entering day school and continuing to Jewish high school increases the likelihood of a young Jew choosing to engage in ongoing Jewish learning and choosing to live a vibrant Jewish life.


    The initiative targets two stakeholder groups: the five participating schools and middle-income Jewish families with high school-age students:

    lightWho are unaware of or would not previously consider the five participating schools.

    lightWho are interested in attending one of the five participating schools.

    lightWho are already enrolled in one of the five high schools but may have to drop out due to financial constraints.


    lightFinancial Incentives and Structure for Change: Financial resources to support the schools’ enrollment of students from middle income families, the development of the schools’ fundraising infrastructure, and support and skill-building of a central agency to administer financial assistance to the schools from the funders – Jim Joseph Foundation and Simha and Sara Lainer Day School Endowment Fund.  Click here for more information.

    lightScaffolding for Implementation: Scaffolding for launching, implementing, and administering the initiative, as well as shaping the strategic vision, provided by the central agency – BJE: Builders of Jewish Education. Click here for more information.

    lightSchools Raising Endowment Funds: Development of the capacity to successfully raise endowment funds and the management of student financial assistance to increase enrollment of students from middle-income families undertaken by the high schools – Milken Community High School, New Community Jewish High School, Shalhevet High School, YULA Boys High School & YULA Girls High School.  Click here for more information.

    lightIncrease and Diversify School Enrollment: Marketing and outreach efforts by the schools to reach new Jewish families and make them aware of opportunities for tuition subvention in order to increase and diversify enrollment.  Click here for more information.