Adrian Bailey Dion
Chief Operating Officer, Harold Grinspoon Foundation, age 31
‘Business savvy’ and ‘entrepreneurial skills’ are phrases that some might not associate with the management of a nonprofit. But Harold Grinspoon — one of the region’s most successful business leaders, a true entrepreneur, and a philanthropist — certainly knows better.
And that’s why he hired Adrian Bailey Dion to help lead the foundation that bears his name and become “a partner in my philanthropic work.” In his letter nominating Bailey Dion for the 40 Under Forty Class of 2013, Grinspoon had high praise for her entrepreneurial approach to operating and growing PJ Library, one of the foundation’s signature programs, which supports literacy and values development in children ages 1-8 through the purchase and delivery of age-appropriate Jewish books.
“When it started in 2006, it was my hope to grow the program and send Jewish books to 5,000 families in five years,” he wrote. “With Adrian on board in 2008, she was able to strategically think through the operations side of these growth goals. She helped build this program, which now has more than 200 partners across the globe, sends more than 100,000 books per month, and has given away more than 4 million books!”
This was accomplished through Bailey Dion’s efforts to create a new model of doing business within the publishing industry, as she positioned PJ Library to work like an agent as well as a client by proactively and collaboratively finding new manuscripts and story ideas, and structuring a purchasing process and timeline that allowed new books to be published for both PJ Library and the trade market.
“Having more families get more books is the way we measure success, and the way we do that is through efficiencies and economies of scale,” she explained. “The same principles that apply to business can also be applied to philanthropy.”
Personally, she’s been applying those entrepreneurial principles and passions to benefit local food pantries and kitchens. She worked tirelessly to make Share the Bounty, a program that supports shares in local farms, a more viable business; it was eventually adopted by Berkshire Grown, a nonprofit Berkshire County program that supports local agriculture.
In her home life, she and her arborist and horticulturalist husband plan on growing gardens and an orchard at their new, 13-acre home in Granville. Chances are, she’ll exceed growth goals there as well.
— Elizabeth Taras