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ALEF Fund Update

By ALEF Fund

ALEF Fund, Inc. (“ALEF Fund”) is pleased to announce it has successfully resolved recent issues related to the submission of pledges to the Department of Revenue this year. This resolution will provide full funding to ensure that all donations pledged to ALEF Fund for 2023 will be fulfilled and allocated to ALEF Fund’s partner schools for use in the upcoming school year. To help answer questions about these issues and the resolution achieved, ALEF Fund has prepared this statement.

During the ALEF Fund annual fundraising process this year, upload errors with the Georgia Department of Revenue resulted in denials or under approvals of some tax credit applications. Without these approvals, ALEF Fund would not have received all pledged amounts from donors and therefore would not be able to disburse those funds to its partner schools to fund student scholarships under the Qualified Education Donation Tax Credit program (now referred to as the PEACH Education Tax Credit).


Working together, ALEF Fund and its technology vendor that worked on the submission of pledges have reached an agreement for the recovery of $2.6 million that will fully and completely fund every dollar potentially lost as a result of these issues. This means that all donations pledged to ALEF Fund will be fulfilled and disbursed to partner schools in support of Jewish education scholarships, exactly as if the upload of tax credit applications been completely successful! We are continuing to work out final details, and more information will be provided soon about the distribution of funds, but this is a tremendous outcome that reflects the hard work and dedication of many people.

ALEF Fund wishes to acknowledge that this outcome would not have been possible without the full support of its technology vendor, and ALEF Fund thanks it for its efforts to reach a resolution and is grateful for its support of ALEF Fund’s mission to improve the affordability and accessibility of Jewish education. ALEF Fund is also very grateful for the support of Greenberg Traurig, including shareholders Ted Blum and Justin Victor, who partnered with ALEF Fund and invested significant resources to achieve this outcome.

ALEF Fund would like to thank the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, owner and operator of ALEF Fund, which provided the financial support to guarantee that schools would receive their funds no matter the outcome, enabling schools to continue to offer scholarships for next year while we worked to reach this resolution. The Federation’s dedication to their mission of strengthening our Jewish Atlanta community made it possible for us to continue our support for this community and our children during this time.

Lastly, ALEF Fund’s most important “thank yous” are to its valued donors, its partner schools, and to its leadership for their continued commitment to Jewish education. We have taken significant steps to ensure smooth operation of the ALEF Fund moving forward, and we look forward to being in touch early this summer with information on how you can make your 2024 pledges. Thank you for your partnership.

Atlanta Day Schools Maintain Enrollment Uptick

By ALEF Fund, Atlanta Jewish Community, Jewish Journeys, PHILANTHROPY

A unique silver lining of the pandemic has been a significant spike in enrollment at Atlanta’s Jewish day schools. Last year and this year, many Atlanta parents who were frustrated by school closings and virtual learning opted for the high-quality, in-person education found at our Jewish day schools.

Tallying re-enrollment and new enrollments, nearly all our day schools are seeing their highest numbers in recent history. The Davis Academy added an additional section of first grade last year. They now have 54 students in second grade. Enrollment at The Weber School is at an all-time high.

The Zalik Foundation’s Jewish Community Professional High School Tuition Grant has also been a driver. It offers full-time Jewish professionals, clergy, and educators up to a 50 percent tuition reduction if their children are currently enrolled or have been accepted to an accredited Jewish high school in Atlanta.

Prizmah, national Jewish day school network, confirms the trend. Their 2021 report said, “After two decades of slow erosion in the numbers of students enrolled in non-Orthodox Jewish day schools in North America, the 18 months since the onset of COVID-19 have seen an unanticipated change. Many schools have reported a spate of inquiries and enrollments among children transferring from public schools, sometimes in the middle of the year. Families noticed how well day schools were responding to the challenge of offering a solid and stable education during the pandemic. They preferred what they saw to what their children were experiencing in their previous schools.”

In-migration and remote working are also part of the story. Because of COVID, parents were able to work remotely and choose a community with great day school options. In the Atlanta Jewish Times, Erica Gal, a former admissions director at Atlanta Jewish Academy (AJA), said, “Though AJA did have families coming from local public school, we also had a lot of families move here from out of town.”

Here in Atlanta, preparing our schools to receive these new students and to operate in the COVID environment came at a cost. Jewish day schools received grants from the CARES Act and from Federation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to offset the increased cost of additional staffing, building adaptations, increased cleaning, PPE, and many other costs associated with safe operations. That investment really paid off.

It’s great to hear comments like this one from a new day school parent: “Ok, I can’t help it! I just have to tell you how insanely happy our daughter is this year already. She literally cannot wait to come to school every day, and when I pick her up, she is just going a mile a minute, telling me all about her day and how much fun she had. She absolutely adores her teachers, and so do we. They have just been so above and beyond in every way already.”

Another way to support our Jewish day schools is to make a pledge to the ALEF Fund to redirect a portion of your Georgia state taxes to become tuition scholarships. Hurry, the deadline is December 31, 2021.

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