Longmeadow-based philanthropist Harold Grinspoon has taken the Giving Pledge, started by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates, committing more than half of his wealth to charitable causes during and after his lifetime. He joins 136 other such pledgers, ages 31 to 99, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
“The sense of mission and accomplishment that I get through my philanthropy energizes me every day,” said Grinspoon, 85. “I am honored to join the Giving Pledge and encourage others to join as well.”
Thanks to Grinspoon, who dedicates himself to strengthening Jewish identity, education and philanthropy, close to 400,000 children have found a connection to their Jewish heritage. Through the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, they have either received free Jewish children’s books in the mail, attended local Jewish summer camps or collected money in tzedakah boxes to give to others in need.
“In the 21st century,” Grinspoon said, “I believe that for Judaism to continue to have an impact on families and society, Jewish living and learning must be actively cultivated. That is why I am committing nearly all my assets to my Foundation to pursue this goal.”
Through the Grinspoon Foundation’s flagship program, PJ Library®, more than 130,000 North American children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years receive free, high-quality books and music each month that tell the story of Jewish faith, traditions, and customs. This December, the foundation will celebrate PJ Library’s 10th anniversary. The program continues to grow; currently books are being delivered in seven countries and in four languages.
The Giving Pledge was inspired by the example set by millions of people who give generously, and often at great personal sacrifice, to make the world a better place. It is a long-term effort to encourage giving more, giving sooner and giving smarter. Many of the pledgers are committing to philanthropy much earlier in their careers and taking an active role in tackling new challenges.