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News & Events

Are You Wasting Your Donor Database? Make the Switch Today.

Mark Gold, Director of the Grinspoon Institute
Hillary Clinton penned "It Takes a Village" and Sister Sledge wrote "We are Family". No matter what words you use, we all know the feeling and meaning of being a community. Right now, as camps are gathering across North America to begin another season of bonding within communities, villages, and families, I want to take the time to acknowledge our own community here at the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy and Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

On June 1st a devastating tornado hit our building and our community. In an event that lasted less than 45 seconds, lives changed as windows were shattered, bricks were ripped from buildings like Lego blocks from a toy structure, and cars were smashed and tossed around like Hot Wheels. Although no one at the Foundation was injured, others in our community were not as fortunate.

In the ensuing two weeks, the support we have received from so many of you, and the support we have received from one another IS the definition of community. The fact that we are back in our offices resuming our work, speaks loudly and clearly about the dedication of our "community" here at the Foundation and at Harold Grinspoon's business group Aspen Square Management. "I've never been so glad to be back working in the office" was the theme of our first day back.

And back we are, geared up and ready for another camp season. So this season, when someone from the Grinspoon Institute visits your camp, don't be surprised if he or she pauses to appreciate the community that is created every year at every camp. We've seen anew the powerful influence that the sense of community can have, and we are invigorated in our mission of bringing that feeling to Jewish youth through our support of Jewish camps.

Wishing you a successful camp season!

Mark Gold


Are You Wasting Your Donor Database? Make the Switch Today.

By Kevin Martone
Technology Program Manager

Why invest so much time and money into a donor database if you don't utilize it effectively to achieve fundraising and outreach goals?

Would you put the same kind of effort into other things in your life only to ignore the benefits? For example, my brother has a beautiful lawn. It is a lush green carpet, no dandelions or crabgrass to be found. His lawn takes time and effort to maintain - spreading organic fertilizers, pulling the pesky dandelions that periodically appear by the roots, and watering the lawn when needed.

Can you imagine this lawn being ignored? What would be the point of putting all of this work into his backyard, if it lay idle all summer?

So why do so many camps spend the time to collect and clean gift and contact information in their databases, only to leave them dormant, their promise so thoroughly neglected? Read on to find out why and how lessons from the book Switch can help you begin to reap the rewards of your hard work.


Donor Database Office Hours

To help you begin to make the Switch and use your donor database more effectively, Technology Program Manager Kevin Martone will be offering Donor Database Office Hours on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 1 PM EDT. Kevin will be available the whole hour (he will stay longer if requested) to answer your donor database questions and show you how to use your database more effectively. Bring one thing you'd like to learn to do better in your database, learn about it, and then implement it. Or just come and listen to the questions from your peers - you are sure to learn something new.

Register today for our Donor Database Office Hours.


Camp Case: Camp Bauercrest

By Rob Brockman

Executive Director, Camp Bauercrest

Camp Bauercrest
Camp Bauercrest has a long track record with the Grinspoon Institute, starting in the second Cohort of affiliated camps. At the conclusion of the 2008 camp season, Bauercrest reviewed and updated their strategic plan. The vision ahead included expansion of programs, family outreach, scholarship support, and their capital campaign. Throughout this work, Bauercrest partnered with the mentoring staff at the Grinspoon Institute. This partnership has involved producing a work plan, establishing a manageable time frame for implementing projects, and setting aggressive fundraising goals for both the annual campaign and capital campaign.

Matching funds provided by the Grinspoon Institute have been a major part of making the vision of a new swimming pool a reality. With a ceremonial ground-breaking during the 2010 camp season, construction began in September 2010 - completion is on schedule for May 2011. The Segall Aquatic Center includes a 75-foot by 45-foot (6 lanes) competition pool with swim instruction alcove, donor walkway, newly-constructed pool house and all equipment ready to go for opening for the 2011 camp season.

The mentoring and consulting support of the Grinspoon Institute has profoundly touched the breadth of leadership, governance, campers, families, alumni, and other key constituencies that sustain Bauercrest.

To learn more about Bauercrest and the other exciting projects underway, please email Executive Director Rob Brockman.


11 Commandments of a Successful Camp Fundraiser

Compiled by GIFT Pilot Graduates

Graduates of the first session of the Grinspoon Institute Fundraiser's Training (GIFT) ended their year-long collaboration by crafting a set of 11 fun commandments every camp fundraiser should follow. These include:

  1. Thou shall honor thy donors
  2. Thou shall maintain relationships and be good stewards (to every donor, every alumnus, every parent, every prospect)

Want to see more? Find the entire 11 Commandments in our Knowledge Center.


Please Nominate the Leaders in the Field!

We are excited to present the Annual Grinspoon Institute Awards at this year's Conference, given to those that have demonstrated outstanding achievements over the past year and can truly claim to be "Leaders in the Field" of Jewish overnight camp. We are seeking your nominations to help us celebrate those most deserving of these awards. Please fill out the following short forms to submit nominations in two categories:

We will also present the Outstanding Philanthropist Award and Impact in Technology Award at this year's Conference. Note that award recipients will be selected from among the nominees by a committee of Grinspoon Institute staff whose decision shall be final.


Back by Popular Demand! GIFT2 to Begin November 2011

Due to the popularity of the GIFT (Grinspoon Institute Fundraiser's Training) program, the Grinspoon Institute will be offering GIFT2 beginning in November 2011 (at the Grinspoon Institute's Annual Conference).

Is GIFT2 for you? GIFT2 is a year-long course offered to development professionals from Grinspoon Institute camps who seek to strengthen their skills and build or enhance a culture of philanthropy at their camps. The course is experiential; reading and homework assignments are intended to advance the work you are already doing in development, so you can apply your insights in a practical way to your day-to-day work. Students will create and take on a Breakthrough Project, one designed to produce a breakthrough for the student as a professional, and for their organization. 92% of pilot participants cited the network of professional peers as one of the most important parts of this course. Time is taken for peers to learn from each other and share best practices.

This is the time to speak with your organization's leadership about participation in GIFT2. Applications will be available September 1, 2011. Stay tuned! Find more details about the GIFT2 program and schedule on our website. Contact Laurie Herrick with questions in the meantime.


Join Me at Summer Camp

By Harold Grinspoon

Summer is upon us and that means camp season will be here again. As I have for each of the past five years, I'll be going to Jewish overnight camp. Not as a camper - I'm 81 - but as a visitor. I've made it a practice to visit Jewish overnight camp because I believe in the transformative influence that Jewish camps have on our children and I think every child could benefit from a camp experience. So, although I never went to summer camp as a child, the support of these institutions has become my hobby and my passion.

Read the rest of Harold's editorial on our website.


Mazel Tov Young Judaea!

Congratulations to Young Judaea on starting as a newly independent organization. The Grinspoon Institute team looks forward to continuing to support the individual Young Judaea camps as well as the new Young Judaea Board. Additional details can be found in the official press release.