NEW YORK – For his tireless commitment to the Russian-speaking Jewish community, Jewish philanthropist and PJ Library® founder Harold Grinspoon will be honored by the Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations at The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City on March 29. The event, entitled “Building the Future,” marks COJECO’s 10th anniversary.
Grinspoon, 82, of West Springfield, Mass., is a real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist who established the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) in 1993 to promote Jewish life among young people, adults and families in western Massachusetts, North America and Israel. Since its founding, HGF has dispersed more than $110 million dollars to the Jewish world globally in programs, grants and operations. Grinspoon is the visionary behind the PJ Library program, which partners with 165 Jewish communities in North America to send free Jewish children’s books close to 100,000 children each month. He has been awarded the Jewish Book Council Impact Award for his creation of PJ Library and its outreach to the next generation.
Grinspoon’s passion for Jewish overnight camping led him to create the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy, a program of the HGF, which has catalyzed 85 Jewish overnight camps to raise well over $70 million dollars with matching grants and consultation. He has served on numerous boards including as a founding partner in the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) and on the boards of Birthright Israel and the Foundation for Jewish Camp.
For over two decades, Harold Grinspoon and his wife and philanthropic partner, Diane Troderman, have been active philanthropists in the Russian Jewish community both in the former Soviet Union through organizations such as Project Kesher, the Jewish Community Development Fund, Hillel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and in the resettlement of Jews from the FSU in their own community.
Pioneers in the creation of a micro-finance program for women in Russia, the couple believes that the Russian Jewish community would one day bring its great intellect and cultural acumen to influence the changing landscape of the American Jewish community, and in doing so, both would be strengthened. Grinspoon, Troderman, and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation are proud to partner to bring the magic of the PJ Library to thousands of families in the Russian Jewish community in North America and Sifriyat Pijama to children in Israel.
Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations (COJECO) is a central coordinating body in the Russian Jewish community of New York that was formed in 2001 to facilitate the successful integration process of Russian-speaking Jews into the mainstream Jewish community and the greater American society. Today, COJECO not only continues to support its 33 member organizations, but also strives to represent and advocate for the community’s needs.