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News & Events

"Friends for Life": Engaging Jewish Camp Alumni

Mark Gold, Director of the Grinspoon Institute
I am pleased to be writing this note as the new Director of the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy. It is truly exciting for me to be joining the team of talented individuals at the Institute in working with you to promote the vision of the Institute's founder of enhancing the long-term effectiveness of Jewish camping.

My background includes participation on the Board of Directors of several Jewish agencies in Springfield, MA where I have lived for the past 37 years. I am a strong believer in the role that an overnight camping experience has in enhancing the Jewish experience of our children - a perspective I gained from both my own camping experience and that of my children.

I am joining the Grinspoon Institute following a career as a Research Engineer and automotive safety lobbyist. I expect to be calling on my experiences in management, planning and implementing change through others as I and the Institute's mentors and support staff continue the programs and services that have become the hallmarks of the Grinspoon Institute. It is my intent to strengthen and grow the scope of our work with camp directors, staff members, Boards of Directors and National Organizations to maximize the benefit that we bring to each of our many clients. To this end, please feel free to contact me about any aspect of our Institute's programming or services.

In the brief time I have spent in my new position I have learned of many of the opportunities and challenges that face each of our clients. I have also come to understand the key role that our mentors play in supporting your mission and advocating for the success of your organization at all levels. It is my goal to use the resources of the Grinspoon Institute to build on the opportunities and address the challenges so that we significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit overnight camps and other organizations that engage young people in meaningful Jewish cultural and educational experiences.

I look forward to meeting and working with each of you in the coming months.

Warmest Regards,

Mark Gold


"Friends for Life": Engaging Jewish Camp Alumni

By Julia Riseman

"I loved my Jewish Camp! It's where I first felt really accepted for who I was, where my world grew much broader than my hometown."

Thousands of alumni from Jewish summer camps across North America have strong emotional ties to their camp just like this. But we've found that as many as 75% (or more!) of those alumni aren't in direct contact with their camps. Beth, the alum quoted above, has never been contacted by her summer camp!

What strategies might camps use to re-engage their alumni? How might Jewish Camp remain a "Friend for Life" with all their alumni from now on? Grinspoon Institute Mentor Julia Riseman discusses what camps have to offer their alumni and how to use it to engage them effectively.


Top 10 Tips for Finding Lost Alumni

By Kevin Martone
Technology Program Manager

Before you can re-engage your camp alumni, you have to find them! In a recent survey of our participating camps, they self-reported that less than 25% of living alumni are up to date in their donor databases. Read on for 10 tips to help find the other 75%!


Writing Great Alumni Profiles

Prospective camp families want to know what positive impact camp will have for their children. How can you answer them in an authentic way? Alumni profiles - short articles about alumni of camp - can provide powerful stories and engaging content for your website, eNewsletters, and other communications. Read on to learn tips for writing effective alumni profiles.

Camp Legacy Initiative Training

On Sunday, February 13, 50 professional staff and lay leaders from 11 camps just starting the Camp Legacy Initiative attended a training session at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. "All the camps came prepared and excited to create their Legacy action plans, get their teams of lay and professional leaders educated about planned giving, and initiate their legacy programs," said Camp Legacy Initiative Director David Sharken.

We look forward to these 11 camps adding to the 1,500 individual and family pledges valued at $38.5 million that have already been received by camps participating in the Camp Legacy Initiative.

The following camps are in this latest Legacy Cohort:

  • Camp Bauercrest
  • Camp JORI
  • Camp Kinder Ring
  • Camp Laurelwood
  • Camp Nageela Midwest (Agudath Israel)
  • Camp Shomria Canada
  • Camp Shomria of Hashomer Hatzair
  • Camp Young Judaea Tel Yehudah
  • Camp Young Judaea Texas
  • Capital Camps & Retreat Center
  • Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa