A 24-hour crowdfunding campaign to raise money for 12 Toronto-area day schools brought in $3.1 million, exceeding the initiative’s $2-million goal.
A similar crowdfunding program raised $1.9 million last year for nine participating schools.
According to the online platform Charidy, which hosted the fundraising venture, 4,558 donors participated in the campaign that ran from April 16-17, with the largest single donation being $100,000. Some schools had arranged three additional donors, or groups of donors, to match donations, meaning that each dollar given was in fact quadrupled. Donors could give to an individual school, or the entire campaign.
“It’s really phenomenal,” said Daniel Held, executive director of the Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education. “To see the schools come together in a collaborative day to really grow the system of Jewish education and to see so many donors and families support the schools is just incredible for our community.”
The schools that brought in the most money included Eitz Chaim Schools, which raised $752,676, Kayla Children’s Centre, formerly known as Zareinu and Camp AIM, which raised $626,277 and Yeshiva Darchei Torah, which raised $502,978.
Held said the schools can use the funds in two ways. Some of the money will go to provide financial aid for families. “Even with the massive amounts of money that Federation puts into day schools, affordability is a real challenge in our community,” Held said.
Schools will also use the funds to “ensure excellence across general and Jewish studies,” he said. Money may be spent on projects such as professional development, technology, special education, enhancing math and science education and Israel engagement.
Yaffi Scheinberg, executive director of Kayla Children’s Centre, said she was not surprised, as she watched the money roll in during the campaign.
It’s really phenomenal.
– Daniel Held
“We always knew there was a lot of love for Zareinu and (Camp) AIM and now for Kayla Children’s Centre, but it was nice to see it all come together, and especially the amount of volunteers that came to make calls and parents and staff and people who were connected in some way or other, and people who never heard of it. Even just the amount of individual donors in one day was worth celebrating,” she said.
The Kayla Children’s Centre did not specify how the funds will be used, other than “to support Jewish education.”
Other schools participating in the campaign included The Leo Baeck Day School, Netivot HaTorah Day School, Robbins Hebrew Academy, TanenbaumCHAT, Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School, Joe Dwek Ohr Haemet Sephardic Day School, Bnei Akiva Schools, Bialik Hebrew Day School and the Toronto Heschel School.