By COLlive reporter
A new initiative aimed at keeping top teachers in the Crown Heights neighborhood has grown to include all Lubavitch Crown Heights Schools since being announced on COLlive.com two weeks ago.
The new initiative is being launched by Zaki Tamir, an attorney and the Chairman of Vaad Hakohol of Crown Heights, along with various educators and donors, and will offer incentives of $150,000 towards the purchase of a home or condo in Crown Heights to teachers who are nominated by their schools and are voted by a special committee.
The program was inspired by an initiative being started in Oholei Torah, the flagship Chabad boys school, and is “designed to help address the growing concern in our community regarding the rising cost of housing and lack of affordability,” Zaki Tamir, who is spearheading the initiative, told COLlive.com.
“This program will address a way we can assist the best of our own, the scholars and the melamdim of our children,” he said.
“The teachers that develop the character and education for our children are not able to sustain a dignified existence in our community, and even with the increased salaries and other incentives, it is virtually impossible for a professional teacher to save enough for a down payment on a house in or around Crown Heights,” Tamir said.
The program was initiated by Oholei Torah, and is now being launched to be available to any Crown Heights school wishing to participate.
A teacher who is nominated for the grant will receive $150,000.00 towards the down payment on a house in Crown Heights or the surrounding areas, once he or she is nominated by the school where they are employed and approved by the Committee (comprised of the contributing members of the fund), upon signing of a long-term contract with the school of at least 7 years.
“The teachers of our children must be professional and smart, and kind, and dedicated, we want the best for our kids,” Tamir stresses. “This is not a charity campaign; this is called paying into our own interests. Our educators must know they are at the top of the list of communal priorities,” he said.
For a teacher to be nominated, the program requires the participation of their school, which must invest at least $50,000.00 into any individual nominated by the school. That amount would be matched by double to reach a total of $150K.
All Lubavitch schools located in Crown Heights are eligible to participate with a showing of proof of funds for the number of nominees it submits to the committee. There is no minimum. A school is permitted to participate with proof that it reserved $50,000.00 and submit only one nominee.
All educators that are employed by a Lubavitch school located in Crown Heights are eligible for nomination by the school, the rules and guidelines may vary according to the rules established by each school. A school is permitted to submit the application and nomination of an educator even if that educator already owns a house, but the application should be direct about how the grant would be used towards the spirit of this effort, eg “the refinance of a jumbo mortgage to a 15-year” or “a mortgage payoff,” for example.
A teacher may also purchase a two-bedroom condo in Crown Heights (even if it is too small for the family size), without moving into that unit, he/she can monetize that purchase over a very short time to afford a down payment for a larger house with the profits on the sale of the initial smaller unit.
The multi-million dollar initiative will be funded by local philanthropists and businesses in Crown Heights.
What is needed now, Tamir says, are Crown Heights residents who care about the shechuna and the future of our children, who will step up and pledge to help make this initiative a reality.
“People should understand how easy it could be for a regular working person to help in this effort,” he says. “See below how others have done it!”
Here are individuals who have stepped up in support of our shared interest in the future of Crown Heights:
1. Shmuel Albukerk: $100,000.00 (distributed $5,000.00 per application first 20 approved)
2. Zaki Tamir: $100,000.00 (distributed $5,000.00 per application first 20 approved)
3. Mendy Zulauf: $50,000.00 (distributed $2,500.00 per application first 20 approved)
4. Aaron Fershtman: $50,000.00 (distributed $2,500.00 per application first 20 approved)
5. Eyal Yanyak: $50,000.00 (distributed $2,500.00 per application first 20 approved)
“This is our community – your participation will indicate the interest we agree to collectively invest,” Tamir says. “It is a promise that if I make it my business to care for the Rebbe’s children, the Rebbe makes it his business to care for me and you!
“Anyone giving to tzedakah in this way will see the Rebbe’s open blessings for the ability to give much much more!”