The “Affordability Guarantee”

Comparisons do not always work. This is obviously so if one compares dissimilar items such as apples to oranges, or dissimilar situations, such as the day school system in Greater Toronto with that of the system in northern New Jersey. But comparisons even of dissimilar situations can still be instructive.

That is why we bring readers’ attention to an initiative of the Paula and Jerry Gottesman Family Supporting Foundation and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ two years ago, aimed at enabling middle-income families to afford sending their children at four area day schools.

Each of the four schools agreed to limit total tuition expenditures to 18 percent or less of a family’s adjusted gross income, regardless of the number of children in the family. The goal of the program was to help middle-income families who were reluctant to apply for or did not qualify for traditional financial aid. Scholarships for lower-income families remained in place at the four schools.

The amount donated by the Foundation was $10 million. This suggests indeed that the GTA day school situation is far larger and more complex than that of the combined four schools in northern New Jersey. The point, however, of sharing the information with readers is not for the precise detail of New Jersey initiative – although it is vastly interesting and applicable in principle to the GTA. It is rather to demonstrate how imagination, generosity, goodwill, cooperation, mutual respect and an-unbreakable-determination-not-to-give-up on the part of the leaders of that community have lead at least to a meaningful breakthrough.

The tuition cap was one part of a new 10-year program, named “Vision 2025,” which is funded under the Gottesman Foundation. The program includes new family incentives, professional development for teachers, and an effort to market the area to prospective day school families.

Steve Levy, vice chair of the Greater MetroWest Day School Council and a key designer of Vision 2025 said, “the goal was to have an across-the-board affordability guarantee for Greater MetroWest families.”

So far it seems to be working there.

If the federation and philanthropists can implement an affordability guarantee for four day schools in northern New Jersey, why can that not be achieved for the day schools in Greater Toronto?

For the full details of the initiative, see:


Shabbat Shalom.


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