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Supporting PJA FAQ

The choices we make with our financial resources are a reflection of our commitment to providing the best possible education for our students. We hope this Finance FAQ helps to answer some of your questions about PJA’s finances and fundraising activities.

How is tuition determined?

Tuition does not cover the entire cost of educating our students at PJA, and each year our school must raise more than $300,000 to ensure the very best education for our students. To set tuition, PJA estimates the number of students for the coming year; from this, we determine staffing needs. From our annual budget of approximately $5 million per year, we deduct the generous Jewish Federation donation (about 3% of our budget), fundraising activities (10% of our budget), and divide the remaining expenses by the number of students.

Tuition covers approximately 87% of expenses. Donations from the Jewish Federation come to 3% of our budget.

How does the school raise additional funds?

Each year, in addition to tuition, the school relies on fundraising to account for the additional 10% of budget. These include: the annual PJA auction, the Annual Fund, SCRIP gift cards, tributes, and other activities. This money covers the gap between tuition and the cost of educating your child (approximately $1,500 for day school students).

Why does PJA have several different fundraising activities?

Families prefer to participate in different ways. Not everyone attends the auction, for example, or takes advantage of our SCRIP program. But everyone can afford to give a gift to the annual fund that is meaningful to them. Participation in the Annual Fund is weighed very seriously when foundations and major donors evaluate the support we receive from within our own community. Your gift encourages giving from outside sources.

Why is there a gap between tuition costs and tuition charged? Why doesn’t PJA simply charge more for tuition? Wouldn’t that be easier?

PJA prides itself on being open to all students, regardless of religion, race, and economic standing. Increases in tuition would be a hardship for a number of families who currently have students attending PJA or those families interested in having their children attend PJA. Having ample financial aid available helps maintain healthy class sizes and diversity within our student body.

If my child is currently receiving scholarship money, do I have to take part in school fundraisers, such as the Annual Fund or Auction?

It is our goal that everyone participates in school fundraising, including those receiving tuition assistance. Our goal is to build a community of families, staff and board members that gives 100% to support their school. This conveys a strong message as we appeal to outside organizations for grant funding. Your gift, no matter how big or how small, makes a difference.

If I’m already paying full tuition, why should I give?

Since tuition only covers 87% of our expenses, every child at PJA is, in a sense, being subsidized. Your gift, whether it is $18 or $1800, is a vote of confidence in PJA that directly benefits our students and your children and allows us to provide the best education possible.

Is my gift tax deductible?

PJA is a 501(c) nonprofit organization and all donations are tax-deductible. Please check with your own tax advisor for details.

How is Annual Fund money used? Is this different from monies raised at the Auction?

Money raised by the Annual Fund is unrestricted giving, which means we can use the funds where they are most needed. Traditionally, Annual Fund monies support many activities at PJA, ranging from field trips and art supplies, to technology, professional development and faculty salaries.

The money raised by the school auction supports the operating budget and scholarships.

Many local private schools raise money through interest income on an endowment fund. Does PJA have an endowment?

Yes, PJA has a modest endowment.

Where does this money fit in with the major expense items on the school’s budget?

Currently, about 85% of PJA’s budget goes toward faculty and staff salaries and benefits. The additional 15% covers the costs of operating the school, including supplies and the physical plant.

Do other Portland-area private schools have an annual fund and/or auction?

All private/independent schools in the Portland area conduct fundraising activities.

Do other northwest Jewish day schools have an annual fund and/or auction?

Yes! Jewish day schools across the country rely on additional fundraising activities to support their schools. PJA is a member of PEJE (Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education) that offers webinars and trainings dedicated to many areas common to Jewish Day Schools including fundraising.