SARASOTA, FL – The COVID-19 crisis has hit many area families financially, with reduced hours, lost jobs and shuttered businesses. At Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, a local private Jewish day school serving students of all faiths in preschool through eighth grade, there are students now at risk of not being able to afford tuition costs. Thanks to a generous gift of $50,000 from the Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse Family Foundation, starting in the 2020-2021 school year, Community Day School will have a bigger safety net for families who may never have needed scholarship support in the past.
Two funds of $25,000 have been created through the gift from the Culverhouse Family Foundation. The Eliza Perlmutter Culverhouse Scholarship Fund will provide need-based assistance for qualified families. The Eliza Perlmutter Culverhouse Assistance Fund for Educators will offer need-based assistance for qualified families for the children of educators.
The Culverhouses are happy to provide this crucial support at a time when many are experiencing completely new challenges due to COVID-19. “I have been thinking about what we could do to help – unfortunately, this pandemic is going to affect our community for years,” Eliza said. “People have lost jobs and their businesses; it’s time to come together and help. We hope that this gift will help families feel better because there are people out there willing to help – they have a lifeline at Community Day.”
Although its fundraising efforts have been significantly hampered due to the negative financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, Community Day School has ratcheted up existing support mechanisms to help families who are struggling. According to the Florida Council of Independent Schools, Community Day is one of the few accredited independent schools in the State of Florida providing tuition credits to families during this crisis.
Head of School Dan Ceaser estimates that the school has awarded as much as $70,000 in program credits and new or increased need-based financial aid requests since mid-March.
“Our school has always been committed to providing financial aid for deserving families – this funding benefits our entire CDS family, ensuring we remain diverse and accessible,” Ceaser said. “The coronavirus pandemic has changed the financial circumstances for many in our community and the need is only going to increase through the next school year. We are so grateful to Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse for seeing and addressing a need, and for their incredible caring and generosity during these challenging times.”
The twin grandsons of the Culverhouses attended preschool at Community Day School several years ago; Eliza reports that they loved it there. Eliza’s family – the Perlmutters – helped to found Temple Beth Am in Miami. Eliza says that she’ll always remember how it felt to see students of teachers – even with the price reduction for faculty members – have to leave the school after the economic downturn in 2009. In 2016, the Culverhouses made a significant gift to establish a need-based scholarship fund for children attending Temple Beth Am Day School.
“I hope our gift will encourage other community members to match or step up in any capacity because people are going to need our help for a while,” Eliza said. “The education that children receive at Community Day School is superior – it would be heartbreaking to see even one student have to leave.”
For more about Community Day School, go to CommunityDay.org.
About Hershorin Schiff Community Day School
The mission of the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, which serves students in preschool through eighth grade, is to impact the world by creating a community where children of all faiths demonstrate integrity, academic excellence, and a desire to improve the world. Community Day offers a rigorous, project-based academic program in a diverse and vibrant learning environment rooted in the Jewish values of honesty, integrity, mutual trust and respect. For more information, visit the website at communityday.org or call (941) 552-2770.