Page 37 - BusinessWest February 17, 2021
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 Behind Harold Grinspoon are photos of his large, colorful sculptures created from dead trees, many of which can be seen around the region.
Since 2003, the program has recognized and awarded more than 1,000 students for their entrepreneurial spirit and business ideas, while its entrepreneurship education, competition, and celebration events have reached well over 10,000 students and members of the community.
“That’s very close to my heart,” he noted. “Every college and university in the Valley is involved with that.”
The program actually offers four awards each year, each aimed at a different stage of the startup experience: elevator-pitch awards for compelling ideas, concept awards for startups in the pre- revenue stage, Entrepreneurial Spirit awards for companies that have begun to generate revenue, and alumni awards for later-stage successes.
“Elevating the stature of entrepreneurs has
been incredibly impactful among these college students,” Carpenter said. “It gives them the sense this could be a viable career option. On top of that, it recognizes the importance of creative thinking
— one of Harold’s beliefs — to help people realize
the importance of being curious and using their creativity, and that’s what these entrepreneurs are doing.”
The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards debuted the same year, and with the same idea: to recognize, inspire, and help a critically important group of people.
“To be a great teacher is amazing,” Grinspoon said. “They’re molding children at a very impressionable age, and we’re recognizing them for the outstanding work they do. I think someone should stand up and applaud the teachers.”
Applaud he does, at three separate banquets each year, to accommodate all the winners and the friends, families, and colleagues who come out to support them.
“If you know anything about Harold, he wants to recognize under-recognized people,” said Sue Kline, who spearheaded the Excellence in Teaching Awards for many years. “He thinks of his own path and the difference that teachers made in his own life, and he saw an opportunity where not enough was being done.”
These days, the program recognizes more than 100 teachers each year from about 45 school districts. “Like everything he does, it has evolved over time,” Kline said, noting that, in addition
to the $250 cash prize, each honoree has the opportunity to apply for a Classroom Innovator Prize to bring some form of project-based learning into the classroom.
“This isn’t really intended for teachers about
to retire, although districts can nominate anyone they feel is outstanding,” Kline said. “It’s meant
to encourage mid-level teachers who want to do more. That’s what the project-based learning part does — to help them do something they’ve always
 Financially, because I’m a
businessman, I can afford to financially give. But I know people who are very humble financially, but are very giving of their time and energy and their spirit, and thei”r legacy is so important to them.
to our founder Harold Grinspoon
       Mazel tov from your team!
FEBRUARY 17, 2021 37
   Leah Martin Photography

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