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News & Events

10 Ways to Invigorate Board Meetings

Mark Gold, Director of the Grinspoon Institute
During the past two months I have had the privilege of speaking with many of the professional and lay leaders of both our participating camps and our partner organizations. From each person with whom I have spoken I have gained additional understanding of and appreciation for the field of Jewish overnight camps. I have learned the role that we each play and the challenges we face in assuring the continuity of these programs.

Two studies on camping that were released in March have also helped me understand the gains and challenges of Jewish overnight camping. Both of these studies show the need for our continued efforts in supporting the Jewish camping experience. If you have not seen these studies I strongly recommend that you read them. The two studies are:

  1. Limud by the Lake Revisited: Growth and Change at Camp - Funded by the Avi Chai Foundation and carried out by Amy Sales and her team at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, this study proves that the work the Grinspoon Institute and other organizations have undertaken in recent years have measurably improved the vitality and sustainability of Jewish overnight summer camps.

  2. Camp Works: The Long-Term Impact of Jewish Overnight Camp - Funded by the Foundation for Jewish Camp and coordinated by Stephen Cohen, Professor of Jewish social policy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, this study proves what we all believe: camp "works" at exerting "a measurable impact upon adult Jewish involvement years later."

These research works validate the work of the Institute and our participating camps to build stronger, sustainable Jewish camps to continue to provide the basis of a lifetime of Jewish involvement.

I look forward to meeting and learning from more of you during my tenure. In the meantime, please take advantage of all the resources we have to offer, including this month's Webinar on effective Boards, and our Knowledge Center. As always, you can contact me at mark@hgf.org.

Chag Pesach Sameach,

Mark Gold


Ten Quick Ways to Invigorate Board Meetings

By Jan Masaoka
Editor-in-Chief, Blue Avocado

Board members invest a tremendous amount of time and energy at board meetings. A few simple changes can often make that investment pay off in important ways. Guest contributor Jan Masaoka offers 10 ideas for making Board meetings more effective and rewarding...

You can watch April's webinar when Ms. Masaoka discussed other ways to improve Board effectiveness.


Successful Completion of GIFT!

Who are these GIFT Participants? Click here to find out!
Who are these GIFT Participants? Click here to find out!
The first cohort of the Grinspoon Institute Fundraiser's Training (GIFT) program wrapped up with an in-person meeting in early April in Northampton, MA. The development professionals from over a dozen camps were present for this two-day session that culminated the year-long program.

Participants were excited about the opportunity and experience gained from GIFT. End-of-session comments included:

"I really enjoyed the program and did learn a lot from you and the participants. I am honored to have participated and grateful for the opportunity to learn, share, and re-charge my batteries."

"[GIFT] gave credence and further professionalism to our fundraising efforts."


Camp Case: B'nai B'rith Camp

By Irv Potter
Board Chair, B'nai B'rith Camp

Camp Case: B'nai B'rith Camp
In 2009, B'nai B'rith Camp developed a ten year master plan for our camp. The plan served as the basis for a phased capital campaign, with the first phase built around the matching grants provided by the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy. Now, in phase two, B'nai B'rith Camp has begun the process of replacing all of our cabins. The first new cabin has just been completed using an innovative two story design. Because of our desire to preserve as much open space as possible, the building consists of two separate cabins, stacked one atop the other. Each floor is a separate cabin with its own entrances and two separate spaces for the campers to gather as a group; a private deck and a separate community room opening onto the deck. The new building covers only 40% as much land as the two cabins it replaced. Sustainability and efficiency were crucial design criteria. The cabins are heated using a recirculating hot water system fed by a high efficiency on demand water heater and water for the showers and sinks is heated using two on demand high efficiency gas water heaters. The fundraising advice and support provided by the Institute enabled B'nai B'rith Camp to raise the funds necessary to complete these initial projects, and the courage and confidence to embark on a ten year plan to totally rebuild our camp for future generations. To learn more about B'nai B'rith Camp's process and their unique bunk design, contact Irv Potter directly.