Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School announced that it has received $15 million in pledges toward a $20 million endowment campaign.
“The campaign is about ensuring the future stability of the school,” said Rabbi Mitchel Malkus, head of the Rockville school.
The announcement came during the school’s 50th anniversary celebration on May 26.
In December, school officials said they had received a commitment for a $5 million gift from the Charles E. Smith Family Foundation. That pledge served as an anchor for the endowment campaign.
In the following months, the school received pledges of an additional $10 million. In announcing what the school called the public phase of the campaign last month, Malkus said he will be “making the case that the school is important to the larger Jewish community because of what our graduates go on to do.”
Before the Smith gift, the school’s endowment stood at $15 million. If it raises $20 million from the current campaign, the school will have a war chest of $35 million.
“When we reach $35 million, we will have one of the three or four largest Jewish day school endowments in the country,” Malkus said.
“Our long-term aspirational goal is $100 million,” he added.
The funds generated by the endowment will be used to make the school more affordable and allow more students to attend the school, which has an enrollment of 1,000.
The school is not suddenly flush with cash, Malkus said. The endowment will be used to generate wealth and the school does not plan to touch the principal. Also, many donors will pay their commitment over a five-year period.
“In year six, we will have another $700,000 to $800,000 to use,” Malkus said. “The board is discussing how to spend it.”
Founded in 1966, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School is a K-12 school. Charles E. Smith was a Washington-area real estate developer and philanthropist. He died in 1995.