Page 38 - BusinessWest February 17, 2021
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Harold Grinspoon in his art workshop with fellow artist Alicia Renadette.
wanted to try.”
It’s an extra touch that separates these awards from other recognition
programs, just as the Local Farmer Awards ceremony invites each winner to bring $50 worth of products, to create ‘harvest swap bags’ that all guests receive at the end.
“These things represent his own creative thinking, his own energy
— the way he cares about children and teachers, or about farmers not being well-supported,” Kline said. “That depth doesn’t come from every ordinary philanthropist, but it is reflected in everything his foundation and his charitable foundation do.”
Global Impact
Though Grinspoon, understandably, wanted to focus his recent interview with BusinessWest on the local efforts of the charitable foundation, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation — the arm that focuses on Jewish life — has quietly become a powerhouse across the country and around the world. For example:
• JCamp 180, launched in 2004, helps build the capacity of nonprofit Jewish camps through mentorship, professional-development opportunities, and challenge grants;
• PJ Library (2005) connects people to a colorful world of Jewish history, tradition, and values by delivering Jewish-themed books to hundreds of thousands of children and their families around the world each month;
• Voices & Visions (2010) is a poster series eliciting the power of art to interpret the words of great Jewish thinkers;
• Life & Legacy (2010) helps Jewish day schools, synagogues, social- service organizations, and other Jewish entities across North America build endowments that will provide financial stability; and
• PJ Our Way (2014), the ‘next chapter’ of PJ Library, provides tweens (ages 9-12) the gift of Jewish chapter books and graphic novels.
Several years ago, Grinspoon’s vast array of work attracted the attention of Warren Buffett, who invited Grinspoon and his wife, Diane Troderman, to join the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest indivduals to dedicate at least half their wealth to philanthropy.
“I met some fantastic people through the Giving Pledge,” he said, and reiterated why he was already well on his way to fulfilling the pledge even before joining it. “I don’t understand how people with wealth don’t give it back. It’s foreign to me. And I’m not just talking about giving serious dollars; I’m talking about giving your time and energy.”
These days, Grinspoon has more time to work on his art — his large, colorful sculptures created from dead, reassembled trees can be seen throughout the region — while he enjoys seeing decades of work in philanthropy take root in other, very real ways.
“For me, it’s about developing your legacy,” he said. “Who do you want to be known as? 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 their legacy is so important to them.”
In other words, anyone can be a Difference Maker — just look to Harold Grinspoon for inspiration, and get to work. u
Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]
  Congratulations to
Harold for this very fitting award.
Through your philanthropy and work in the community, you have made a difference in the lives of so many in the Western Mass region. So proud of you!
   Alissa, Steve, Rachel and Jillian
     38 FEBRUARY 17, 2021

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