By: Marc Newburgh, Steering Committee Chair, URJ Camp George
During the many years in which my wife and I had the opportunity to watch our boys as they spent time as campers and staff at Camp George, we came to the conclusion that whoever said it takes a village to raise a child was absolutely right.
But for those of you who may not be aware, our village extends far beyond the road that leads into Camp George. In fact our village actually extends across Canada, the United States, and to Israel.
While there are many wonderful individuals and organizations that make up this village, there is one individual in particular that I’d like to tell you about. His name is Harold Grinspoon.
Harold is a Jewish Philanthropist, who after becoming a successful businessman and entrepreneur decided that he wanted to invest in our children and in 1993 the Harold Grinspoon Foundation was born.
The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) is a non-profit charitable organization with the goal of enhancing Jewish and community life in Western Massachusetts, North America, Israel, and beyond. Harold Grinspoon, a real estate entrepreneur, established HGF in 1993. Harold’s wife, Diane Troderman, has been his active partner in all of his philanthropic activities. They are deeply committed to charitable giving, primarily in the Jewish world.
Jeff Rose and I had the pleasure of spending some time with Harold and his wife Diane during their visit to Camp George on Wednesday July 18, 2012.
During Harold’s visit to camp it was easy to see what inspires him. As we toured camp Harold frequently stopped to say hello to campers and staff, wanting to hear directly from them about their camp experience. As he listened to their stories, heard them sing, or watched as they were participating in an activity, a smile would come across his face. It’s the same smile that I know that I have when I’m at camp. It’s a smile that results from knowing your contributions are having a positive impact on the lives of our children.
The Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy (GIJP) was founded in 2004, with a mission to stimulate Jewish philanthropy by providing mentoring services to non-profit Jewish overnight summer camps and a limited number of other Jewish non-profits. The Institute now works with more than 75 camps across the United States and Canada. URJ Camp George, as well as the other 12 camps owned and operated by the Reform Movement have all benefited greatly from the work of the Institute.
In addition to the wonderful impact Harold and Diane have made on Camp George and the Jewish camping world at large, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation has also impacted and inspired many children to engage in Judaism in a variety of formats. In 2005, the PJ Library was launched to provide children with access to books, music and other resources to foster Jewish learning. Harold serves on the board of the Birthright Israel Foundation, and both Harold and Diane are founding partners in the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE). As well, Harold and Diane have been active for many years on the board of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
Jeff and I were delighted to show off our ‘home away from home’ on Maple Lake to such an inspirational couple. Todah Rabah and Kol Hakavod to Harold Grinspoon, Diane Troderman and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
Like Harold, Diane and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, there are so many wonderful individuals and organizations that help to support Jewish Overnight Camping and URJ Camp George. I am so honored to work with them and to be a part of this village, the village that helps to raise our children.
Steering Committee Chair, URJ Camp George