For Immediate Release: September 19, 2005

Erika Scott
Program Assistant
212-465-2434, ext. 10

Jo-Ann Mort
Vice President for Strategic Communications
212-726-0177, ext. 11


~ Plan to Enhance First-time Donations of Day School Funders~

The Jewish Funders Network (JFN), Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) and a consortium of five philanthropists today announced the launching of a new matching grants initiative for Jewish day schools aimed at first-time gifts from $25,000 to $100,000. The initiative, called MATCH, will accept proposals for matching grants starting on September 15, 2005 and running through January 13, 2006. MATCH will have $5 million in available matching funds with the potential to generate an additional $10 million in new grants. This effort is an outgrowth of an earlier initiative between JFN and The AVI CHAI Foundation which successfully infused the field with $6.8 million in new grants to Jewish education.

To be eligible for MATCH, a philanthropist must make a first time grant to Jewish day schools or increase a previous gift fivefold. The matching grants initiative is open to members of the Jewish Funders Network, but an eligible philanthropist can join JFN simultaneously with applying for matching grants support.

Qualifying grants of $25,000 to $100,000 will be matched at a rate of 50 cents to the dollar. For instance, a $50,000 donation will receive an added $25,000 match from MATCH. All of the application information, including an on-line application form and background materials on Jewish day schools, is available on a new website:

Over the past ten years, enrollment in Jewish day schools has increased by approximately 35,000 students (20%), with nearly 100 more schools open in 2003-2004 than in 1993-94. There are currently more than 750 Jewish day schools across the U.S. with more than 200,000 students. The schools offer a full-day dual curriculum of Judaic and secular studies. They range from Orthodox, Conservative and Reform to nondenominational schools. Jewish day schools provide students with a positive Jewish identity while also strengthening a student’s knowledge base. A recent study found that 79% of day school graduates marry Jews and 72% choose day school education for their own children.

"The Jewish Funders Network is delighted to join with our partners to assist Jewish day school education," said JFN president Mark Charendoff. "As a community of philanthropists, we are committed to creative and strategic grantmaking. I encourage our membersand potential membersto take advantage of this terrific opportunity to deepen their commitment to Jewish day schools."

Arthur W. Fried, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The AVI CHAI Foundation, commented that: "Philanthropy is critically important to the success of Jewish day schools across the country. The message we aim to convey through this matching grants program is that if you want a quality educational product, you have to support it financially. It is our hope that this program will uncover a significant number of new donors who see the value of Jewish day school education."

According to Michael Steinhardt, PEJE Chair and Founder, "The MATCH program is just the kind of investment strategy that philanthropists valueby leveraging their gifts, these funders are able to stretch their contribution to Jewish day schools and join the ranks of those of us who believe that serious Jewish education is at the core of a renaissance of Jewish life."

In addition to The AVI CHAI Foundation, additional MATCH funders are Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Alan B. Slifka Foundation and Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation.

The Jewish Funders Network ( is an international organization of family foundations, public philanthropies, and individual funders dedicated to advancing the quality and growth of philanthropy rooted in Jewish values.

The Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education ( founded in 1997 by Michael Steinhardt and Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, is a collaborative of visionary Jewish philanthropists who seek to create a vibrant and sustainable Jewish future through strengthening the Jewish day school movement in North America, with a targeted goal of increasing enrollment in new and existing Jewish day schools.