TJF seeks new donors for education tax credit program

by | May 4, 2023 | Other News

Tidewater Jewish Foundation, an approved scholarship foundation under the Virginia Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit (EISTC) Program, is looking for new donors before its current fiscal/program year ends on June 30, 2023.

BINA High School, Strelitz International Academy, and Toras Chaim all benefit from the Program and all have current students approved for scholarships that cannot be fully funded without additional donations in the next several weeks. The program’s goal is to help qualifying students (lower- and middle-income families) at local Jewish day schools.

“If our Jewish schools made their goals vis-a-vis this Program for this academic year, what a difference that would make,” says Naomi Limor Sedek, TJF president/CEO. “We are shy of donations by about $107,000 that could fully fund this year’s scholarships.”

This is an opportunity to help support Jewish education and get a Virginia Income Tax credit for 2023, according to Limor Sedek. TJF hopes to fully award scholarships to students at BINA, Strelitz, and Toras Chaim.

“Many students at SIA rely on tuition assistance from the tax credit dollars in order to attend the school.  Without the support, these families would not be able to afford for their children to attend the school,” says Carin Simon, director of advancement, Strelitz International Academy.

“Many of our families require these scholarships to be able to afford to send their children to private Jewish schools. It is an amazing opportunity, and we need to come together as a community and support families who otherwise would not be able to give their children a Jewish day school education,” says Rabbi Gershon Litt on behalf of Toras Chaim.

“Our families work very hard, and they have many children,” says Litt. “Each child deserves the right to a Jewish education, but many can’t afford it. Some of our kids have special needs and our school is able to assist with those needs because of this Program.”

Amy Brooke of BINA agrees.  “It is important that it (Jewish education) be affordable to our families. There are limited institutions that provide Jewish education subsidies to make the decision easy to prioritize the need in these challenging times to learn about Jewish history, Jewish identity, and belief in G-d.”

It is unfortunate, says Brooke, “when a parents’ decision of wanting a Jewish education for their child must be made solely on their ability to afford it.

“It has always been my strong feeling,” continues Brooke, “That all Jewish education in a community should be subsidized equally. The need for Jewish education at all levels of observance is critical to the survival of the Jewish people.”

“SIA provides all students with an excellent academic curriculum and foundation in Jewish education with the support of a nurturing environment,” says Simon, noting that the tax credit program “provides opportunities for a broader pool of students to attend the school.”

“The EISTC Program has been a game changer for our community and allowed our school to grow and add services and programs we could not have added without it,” says Litt. “This money all goes to our kids. We hope that members of our community will see the need and do what they can to help the kids.”

In fact, SIA has experienced 40% growth in enrollment over the last five years, which has increased the amount of financial aid requests, Simon says.

In addition, Litt notes that “some people think that this Program takes away from public schools. It does not. 100% of all money that goes into this program is raised from private donors who donate to the scholarship foundation of their choice. This is lifting up children while not adversely effecting children in public schools. The EISTC is a win/win for everyone.”

Scholarships are funded with specific donations to TJF and requires pre-authorization by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

Donations qualify for a 65% credit against an individual’s or business’s Virginia income tax.  In fact, a $10,000 gift can help support local Jewish education and may only have a net after-tax cost of less than 25 cents on the dollar.

Potential donors are encouraged to consult their professional tax advisors.

For more information, contact Naomi Limor Sedek at 757-965-6109 or or Randy Parrish, at 757-965-6104 or

Terri Denison