9th Grinspoon Institute Camp Conference (2010)
News & Events

New Camps Added and Awards Presented at the 9th Grinspoon Institute Camp Conference


December 10, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Five new camps were added to the list of 75 Jewish overnight camps now mentored by the Grinspoon Institute of Jewish Philanthropy, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and awards for success and development were given to five deserving camps at the 9th Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy Camp Conference, which was held at the end of November in Springfield, Mass. 

More than 350 camp professionals and board leaders from across North America attended to discuss best practices for improving the long-term viability and success of Jewish overnight camping.

Over the past five years, Grinspoon has committed $10.6 million in matching grants and more than $7 million in consulting and other services to helping Jewish camps raise money, improve their facilities and technology, and grow attendance.  The result: Jewish camps have raised another $50 million on their own to be used for capital improvements, expansions and endowments.  Working in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the Grinspoon Institute has helped Jewish camp attendance grow from 43,000 a decade ago to 70,000 campers across North America today.

"I believe building Jewish camaraderie over the summer months is incredible for Jewish kids -- gathering children around a campfire builds self-confidence, a love of Judaism and it's fun," says Harold Grinspoon, founder and philanthropist of the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy. "Camping is an essential place to build a stronger Jewish future beginning with our young people. This work is important and all of the camp professionals and board leaders in attendance at the conference are the reason it is all possible."

Six years ago, the conference was little more than 35 camp lay and professional leaders gathered in Harold Grinspoon's living room. Now, with record-setting attendance, the conference is a national Jewish camp event devoted to strengthening the fundraising and organizational capacity of more than 90 Jewish organizations across the nation, including overnight camps, day schools, and other umbrella groups and special projects.

Harold Grinspoon has been helping 75 (now 80) Jewish camps and six national camping organizations transform their business models and operations into successful nonprofits. A team of 10 mentors has provided coaching and consulting services free to camp board and professional leaders (executive directors, directors, development staff).  With Institute guidance, camps have strengthened their boards, implemented development responsibilities and processes, built technology systems that have increased donor bases from hundreds to thousands, and increased stewardship of alumni.

The Grinspoon Institute conference was headlined by a panel of camp professionals including Rabbi Ron Klotz, Jodi Sperling, Rabbi Loren Sykes, Debbie Sussman and Molly Wernick, who shared compelling stories about their camps in moving and poignant presentations.

The Institute proudly announced the inclusion of five new affiliate camps: B'nai B'rith Canada, Camp Schwayder, JCC Ranch Camp, URJ Camp Kutz and Camp Henry Horner.

Camps that demonstrated outstanding achievements over the past year were presented with Grinspoon Institute Awards - new to the field and the first awards dedicated solely for the field of Jewish overnight summer camp. The following awards were presented: 

  • The Outstanding Achievement in Fundraising award was given to the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp, in Utica, Miss., for best leveraging all three of the Grinspoon Institute Matching grants (a total of more than $300,000) to the highest possible benefit.
  • The Outstanding Fundraising Professional award was given to Linda Hoffenberg of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin (in Conover, WI) for her significant impact building long-term vitality and sustainability through increased cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship efforts. 
  • The Outstanding Board Leadership award was given to Efrat Levy of Camp Shomria, N.Y., for her work to significantly improve New York Camp Shomria's board governance, fundraising and planning.
  • The Impact in Technology Award was given to Herzl Camp in Webster, WI for its integrated use of technology for internal effectiveness and improved communications, community-building, and fundraising through the strategic use of their donor database, social media tools, eNewsletters and their website. 
  • The Grinspoon Institute Outstanding Philanthropist Award was awarded to the Messinger Family whose donations helped to leverage more than $4.6 million for URJ Eisner and Crane Lake Camps, Camp JRF and URJ Camp Newman.

About the Institute
The Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Its vision is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit overnight camps and other organizations that engage young people in meaningful Jewish cultural and educational experiences. The goal of the Grinspoon Institute is to guide these camps to become strategic and self-sustaining by providing coaching and consulting services along with technology assistance and a series of matching grant challenges. The Institute enhances its offerings with additional services such as conferences, professional training, webinars, the Create a Jewish Legacy Program, Technology Program and more. 

Bookmark and Share