Sinai Akiba Academy Endowment Surpasses $29 million!
Sinai Akiba’s endowment is among the largest Jewish Day Schools nationally, according to Prizmah, the network organization for Jewish Day Schools across North America (Pulse Survey, March 2021).
Among all of the 112 day schools surveyed, Sinai Akiba had the 6th largest endowment in the nation and the leading endowment among the elementary schools.
Sinai Akiba’s Endowment Fund, now valued at $29..8 million (as of June 30, 2021), has been a work in progress for over 25 years. The effort began when SAA’s first Development Chair, the late Judith Weinstock z”l, attended a fundraising conference for independent day schools with several other SAA lay leaders. The group returned, motivated and inspired to begin building an endowment.
Along the way, visionary donors continued to support educational programs with directed endowment gifts, such as Pam and George z”l Smith, who provided the funding to begin Sinai Akiba’s Learning Support program, so that their daughter Rebecca z”l, could attend SAA. Other families generously donated funds for tuition assistance to ensure Jewish education was accessible for the community.
In 2012, with an endowment valued at approximately $8 million, the Generations program was born through the support of PEJE, the BJE and the AVI CHAI Foundation. Sinai Akiba was part of the original cohort of Day Schools in Los Angeles to participate in the program and it was the first official endowment building campaign in the history of the School. Over 40 commitments were made to Generations and approximately $3 million was raised. In addition, the BJE in conjunction with the Simha and Sara Lainer Family Foundation offered an interest match on the funds raised which Sinai Akiba continues to receive yearly. Beyond the funds raised, which were over $15 million nationwide, Generations helped to educate communities on the importance of building an endowment to ensure a sustainable future for Jewish Day Schools.
Fast forward to 2019, when SAA alumni parents and long-standing Sinai Temple members Anna and Bill Tenenblatt came forward with an incredible $5 million dollar gift and Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries gave $2 million dollars. These donations were specifically to support tuition assistance.
“I am so grateful to Anna and Bill and to Mount Sinai for these extraordinary gifts. Their leadership will provide the gift of a Sinai Akiba education to many more families in our community. In return, these students will be shaped by Jewish education and will contribute to our collective Jewish future,” said Dr. Marc Lindner, Head of Sinai Akiba Academy.
With day school tuition rising across the country, affordability continues to be a challenge for many young families. The endowment helps to supplement our yearly operating budget and provides an additional revenue stream, in perpetuity. Sinai Akiba’s endowment is managed by the Investment Committee and is chaired by Howard Brandes.
This year, the endowment allowed the School’s Board to offer tuition refunds to all our families for weeks that students spent learning virtually. SAA was the only School in the city to offer the refunds which were intended to help families during the pandemic and keep the community together during this unprecedented time. “I am proud of what we did for our families. With enrollment projections on the rise for next year we believe it was the right decision for our School,” shared Rebecca Kekst, SAA’s Board Chair. “We learned firsthand that having a large endowment is critical not only for long-term sustainability, but also to help weather unexpected circumstances along the way. Our priority will always be to continue educating the next generation of Jewish children.”
To all of the families who have contributed to SAA’s endowment and to the visionary leadership of the School, our heartfelt thanks for what you have helped build at Sinai Akiba. We look forward to growing the endowment into the future and beyond.
Sinai Akiba Academy is a private Jewish day school in Los Angeles, serving students in Early Childhood through Grade 8. We also offer a variety of parenting classes and programs for children through our Parenting Center.A Sinai Temple school.
Notice of Non-Discriminatory Policy As to Students
Sinai Akiba Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.