The Epstein School is revitalizing an old initiative called Imagine Epstein in a new push to secure the future of the school.
“It’s really the rebirth of the endowment campaign from a few years ago with the same name that had been put on hold,” said Ronette Throne, the chief advancement officer for the Conservative day school.
Fundraising and legacy are always important for Epstein, Throne said, but Imagine Epstein is the beginning of an effort to focus on ensuring the school’s success for decades to come.
The endowment campaign includes a new scholarship fund started by the Orkin family, who recently donated $1 million to endow the Barbara & Sanford Orkin and Family Chai Scholarship Fund.
“We decided to make this gift to Epstein because of our belief in the importance of the history of the institution,” Sanford Orkin said in a press release issued by the school. “I am very pleased with the current direction and accomplishment of the school. With this gift, we wanted to continue to honor the work of the past and plant the seeds that will be bearing fruit 40 years from now.”
Throne views the endowment campaign in the same way as the Orkins — through a personal lens. “The way I look at it, I was kid at Epstein benefiting from this amazing education. And now I get the chance to play a role in making sure that in 30, 40 years from now we leave the school better than it was today,” she said. “Someone thought about that for me when I was a kid. And now I get to do the same. I have kids at the school, second-generation Epstein.”
The endowment campaign has five areas of concentration, said Tali Benjamin, Epstein’s marketing coordinator: affordability; the maintenance of the campus; inspiring programs and experiences; technology and learning environments; and extraordinary faculty and leadership.
The Orkins’ donation falls under the area of affordability. Families requiring financial assistance will go through the normal financial aid process, and now the school has another scholarship fund to draw from.
When students receive money from the Orkin fund, the families will be notified where the aid came from.
Benjamin and Throne reiterated that the Orkin donation is only the beginning of the endowment initiative. “Our head of school started last summer, and the conversations began immediately, but we really finally have all the pieces in place,” Benjamin said. “We’re really focused on our future as a school and as a staple in our community. We have a renewed effort on this, and hopefully it will continue and continue.”
Throne said the Epstein administration, school families and other members of the Atlanta Jewish community want to see the 43-year-old school continue to thrive for another 43 years. “The goal is to create stability and allow us to be innovative and grow our programming and to focus on professional and leadership development as well as grow opportunities for students.”
About the Orkin donation, she said: “It was an amazing gift — it really is. Hopefully it will inspire some people.”