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Power of Alumni Campaign Launch 2022 > A Letter from Zack Belzberg '05, Power of Alumni Campaign Chair
My TanenbaumCHAT story starts in the year 2000. I was an eighth grader at an all-boys independent school – a happy and involved middle schooler with every intention of graduating from the school I had attended the prior six years. Things changed when I went on a tour of TanenbaumCHAT. There was an indescribable energy about the place. Students moved around the school with intention and excitement. Hallways were adorned with advertisements for a variety of student activities and extracurriculars. While the thought of a much longer school day, a dual curriculum and learning Hebrew made me nervous, I had to feed my curiosity about this place.
I never looked back. At TanenbaumCHAT, the possibilities are endless. I got involved with student council, plays, sports teams, Jewish advocacy, Model United Nations and many other leadership-building activities. TanenbaumCHAT became a second home to me.
A few years ago, I visited the school and experienced something unfamiliar. While there was a similar energy among the students, the halls felt empty. Turns out, enrollment had fallen significantly.
The key issue was affordability. With fewer students and the rising costs of education, tuition had skyrocketed to $28,500. Our beloved school had effectively priced out many Jewish families.
I firmly believe that Jewish education should be available to everyone, regardless of financial capabilities. To think that hundreds of students in our Jewish community were not getting the opportunity to experience a TanenbaumCHAT education was devastating.
In 2017, through remarkable donations from the Neuberger-Jesin Foundation and the Granovsky family, extensive operating efficiencies and an ambitious fundraising commitment on the part of the school, tuition was lowered by $9,000 for all students for a five-year period. Enrollment immediately began to increase and has continued to grow. This year, 85% of students in Grade 8 at the feeder Jewish day schools have submitted applications for entry to TanenbaumCHAT in 2020, and New Stream applications have been received from students in 39 public and independent schools.
However, in 2022, the duration of the inaugural gifts will come to an end. The school is actively engaged in finding ways to sustain reduced tuition to ensure that enrolment remains strong. This includes increasing the annual fundraising goal to $2.5M annually. The success of this effort depends on the support of the entire community.
Last year, the classes of 2000 through 2015 raised a remarkable $96,000. Thanks to a matching gift from Lynn & Brent Belzberg, the 2020-2021 campaign raised $196,000 in total. With pride in our past achievements, we’ve expanded the campaign to include all of our alumni this year and doubled this year’s goal to $400,000.
We – TanenbaumCHAT alumni who had the enormous good fortune to attend this wonderful school – must step up and help! The good news is that there are more than 8,000 of us – all with our own unique story to tell, and affection and affinity for our high school experience.
This is our opportunity to make a small financial contribution, yet have a major impact on the future of our Jewish community. Our goal is to secure recurring gifts from our Alumni in order to assist in ensuring the accessibility of TanenbaumCHAT to as many members of our community as possible.
Alumni - powering TanenbaumCHAT is in our hands. Please join me in supporting TanenbaumCHAT by making a recurring gift to this year’s campaign.
Zack Belzberg '05,
Power of Alumni Campaign Chair