JCamp 180
News & Events


By Mark Gold

Mark Gold, Director of the Grinspoon Institute
For those of you who may not recall, my formal education is as an engineer, and before coming to the Grinspoon Institute I spent 35 years in the private industry. This part of my career included the years during which the American automobile industry (of which I was part) was trying to catch up to the quality of foreign producers. Among the leading programs of that time was "Statistical Process Control" and as the Quality Control Manager of a Fortune 100 company, I received plenty of extra training on both statistics and process data analysis. So, as you might imagine, this month's Grinspoon Institute webinar "Using Data to Inform Decisions" is of particular interest to me.

Although the data we have as camp boards and staff is different from the data being gathered while running a chemical manufacturing process, the importance of basing decisions on accurate and meaningful data applies in both cases. Here at the Grinspoon Institute we are compiling the fundraising data that you provided us as part of our renewal application. The data allows us to understand achievements and identify the successful programs of individual camps as well as industry trends, thereby helping you make better decisions for future fundraising opportunities. I would like to again thank you all for sharing your data with us - it truly allows us to provide you with answers about expectations and examples of best practices throughout the family of Jewish camps.

While we're on the subject of data, I want to relate a conversation I had with Brandeis Professor Dr. Amy Sales about the JData system. Many, if not most of you, are now routinely entering your camp's operational data into the JData database. The Grinspoon Institute has begun discussions with Dr. Sales about integrating our renewal process into JData, with the hope of eliminating the task of entering the same data twice, once into our system and again into the JData system. Such a streamlined process might also make camp development data available on a statistical basis to a broad range of camps. Although this cooperative effort is only in the discussion phase, I would welcome any comments you might have about the Grinspoon Institute moving to the JData platform.

The pledge phase of our first Chai Match grant program concluded this month. We are pleased to announce that if all pledges are paid in full, over 90% of the matching grant funds offered by the Grinspoon Foundation will be paid out over the next three years. This is a record level of achievement, exceeding even the 87% matching grant funds claimed in our very first Meet Your Match campaign from 2005-2006. Congratulations to the 18 camps who participated in this first - of what we hope to be several - Chai Match campaign. I especially want to congratulate Camps Eisner/Crane Lake and B'nai B'rith Camp in Oregon for having the most individual donors in Phase 2 of this campaign. For this extraordinary level of achievement, these camps each received a Chai Match bonus award.

Finally, I want to welcome Maddie Ramos who has joined the Grinspoon Institute as our administrative assistant. Maddie replaces Kirstin Gadiel who moved to Virginia as part of her husband's matriculation at business school. Please join me in welcoming Maddie to the Grinspoon Institute. She will be your first line of contact for issues ranging from our conference to PJ Goes To Camp.



Prepare for Take-Off: Pilot Your Camp Using Stats and Feedback

By Kevin Martone
Technology Program Manager

Pilots constantly review their gauges and data to refine their course. In fact, airplanes course-correct 90% of the time, according to blogger Chris Brogan. If they didn't, flights would end up at the wrong airport...or worse!

Similarly, camps can always refine and improve, no matter how successful. Read on to find four gauges camps already have access to and what insights they can provide.

* In this month's Webinar, Using Data to Inform Decisions, we'll discuss how URJ Camp George and Camp Mountain Chai use their end-of-year survey data to respond to feedback. Please register today and join us on Thursday, April 19th at 1 PM EDT for this free Webinar.


Camp Case: Camp Ramah in Wisconsin

By Linda Hoffenberg
Director of Institutional Advancement

Camp Ramah in Wisconsin
As the saying goes, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Thanks to Harold Grinspoon we are learning how to fish.

Camp Ramah in Wisconsin is known for creating a transformative Jewish community each summer. Campers are inspired by innovative programs and outstanding staff who join us from around North America and Israel.

Harold Grinspoon recognizes that Ramah Wisconsin - and dozens of other Jewish summer camps - can be stronger and more impactful if given access to mentors and tools to strengthen fundraising, strategic planning, planned giving, technology, and board governance.

With the guidance of the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy, Camp Ramah in Wisconsin has:

  • Maximized Grinspoon challenge grant opportunities to achieve our capital campaign goals. In recent years we built additional staff housing, a Vocational Center for our special needs program and a $3.5 million Kitchen and Dining Complex.
  • Completed and begun implementation of our May 2010 strategic plan.
  • Created a Legacy Society comprised of nearly 90 members.

Our professionals and lay leaders participate in Grinspoon conferences and webinars. In this way we are not only learning how to fish, we are learning about best practices in technology, communications, stewardship, fundraising, board development and much more.

Throughout each of these steps we have worked closely with our Grinspoon Mentor, David Sharken. His coaching and consulting services help enhance the infrastructure that enables Camp Ramah in Wisconsin to continue to provide an outstanding summer experience for our campers and staff members year after year.


Conference Update - Share Your Knowledge!

Last year's conference peer-led mini-sessions were a huge success. This year, we are bringing back the mini-sessions and we need your help. Would you be willing to volunteer to contribute to a mini-session or perhaps lead a full 90-minute workshop on topics such as fundraising, governance, strategic planning, technology, or Jewish camp best practices? Would you be willing to nominate someone else you feel would be a great presenter? If so, please click here to fill out a short survey, or contact Mentor Julia Riseman (Julia@hgf.org) directly if you are willing to help.

All mini-session and workshop topics and facilitators will be selected by the end of May, so please act now by replying to this survey if you might be interested in volunteering. Also, please save the date: Grinspoon Institute Annual Conference, November 4 - 5th 2012 in Springfield, MA.


April Grinspoon Institute Webinar: Using Data to Inform Decisions

Do you feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of data at your fingertips? Do you struggle to use survey feedback or other analytics in a constructive way? In our next Grinspoon Institute Webinar - Using Data to Inform Decisions - we will partner with Alyia Bettman from the Foundation for Jewish Camp to show how camps can tap into useful data to improve their services and communications. Please register today and join us on Thursday, April 19th at 1 PM EDT for this free Webinar.

We will highlight two camps - Camp Mountain Chai and URJ Camp George - that have used survey feedback to pinpoint an issue, incorporate new actions into their Board planning process, and empower staff and lay leaders to implement new initiatives to turn an area of weakness into a strength. Special Guests Alan Friedman from Camp Mountain Chai and Stacey Jaffe from URJ Camp George will share their successful efforts.

Please join us for our free Webinar - Using Data to Inform Decisions - on Thursday, April 19th at 1 PM EDT. Register today!