Heschel Day School receives $1.1 million in gifts

Two alumni families of Heschel Day School in Northridge gave major gifts to establish endowments at the school in honor of its 40th anniversary, one for $1 million, the other $100,000. Both families wish to remain anonymous.

Heschel’s anniversary celebration has created momentum for charitable giving among the school’s alumni, according to Betty Winn, head of school. “As we move into the next generation of Heschel Day School, they want to ensure that an endowment is in place to continue so that the school will be around for many more years to come,” Winn said.  “We just want to impart our appreciation of these families who stepped up to support” Heschel.

Heschel Day School has an enrollment of 405 students, from kindergarten to eighth grade.

The endowment funds will be invested in Jewish foundations to provide a “stable source of income,” said Miriam Prum Hess, director of the Center for Excellence in Day School Education at BJE. Use of the income from the $1 million gift is unrestricted, so the school’s board of directors will decide how it can be used. Income from the $100,000 gift has a specific purpose: to fund professional development for Heschel faculty.

In addition, the Generations L.A. Legacy and Endowment Program will match 25 cents on each dollar of the $1.1 million Heschel raised, giving the school an additional $52,000 over three years to be allocated for students’ financial aid.

The Generations match was developed through a collaboration between the BJE, the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) and the AVI CHAI Foundation. The matching program will support seven day schools, including Adat Ari El, Valley Beth Shalom, Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am, Sinai Akiba, Cheder Menachem and Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy.

Of note: One of the founders of Heschel, Mark Lainer, also helped provide a lead grant for the Generations matching program through the Simha and Sara Lainer Day School Endowment Fund, named for his deceased parents.

Robin Wallach, Heschel’s director of advancement, welcomed the establishment of the endowments. “To be able to know that you have sustainability over the future is a very important thing,” Wallach said, “especially in touch economic times.”