PJ Library in Tidewater receives grant to strengthen social connections, increase opportunities for Jewish experiences and learning

by | Sep 2, 2021 | Other News

Tidewater families raising Jewish children will now have more opportunities to participate in Jewish life, thanks to a grant recently awarded to United Jewish Federation of Tidewater by PJ Library®, the flagship program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that provides free books to families raising Jewish children throughout the world.

PJ Library in Tidewater received $8,000 to launch the PJ Library in Tidewater Parent Connector program, which helps Jewish families connect more to one another and to local Jewish events and learning opportunities.

Tracy Newman, director of community engagement for PJ Library, says, “These grants reflect incredible creativity and flexibility in how our implementing partners are approaching our work during this unprecedented time. All funded grants showcase PJ Library’s best practices on engaging families in Jewish life, while adapting to the current realities of virtual and social-distancing modalities.”

“PJ Library in Tidewater is honored to receive this grant and thrilled to be part of the global PJ Library community reaching more than 667,000 children and their families across 32 countries,” says Sierra Lautman, UJFT’s director of Jewish Innovation. “By empowering and supporting parents to get to know new families and create small group gatherings in their neighborhoods, we are able to strengthen the web of Jewish connection in Tidewater.”

The 13 winning grant proposals were chosen through a competitive process open to organizations implementing PJ Library programs across the United States and Canada. A survey of 800 participants in previous grant-funded projects showed:

• 85% of families connected socially during the programs.

• 64% of families followed up with the social connections afterward.

• 76% of families sought out or attended other Jewish programs.

• 99% would recommend the programs to friends.

“PJ Library’s impact goes well beyond the more than 251,000 books we send out each month across the United States and Canada,” says Debbi Cooper, director of engagement for PJ Library. “We have worked closely with our local partners for over a decade to help advance Jewish family engagement, and we are grateful to be able to add financial support to help ensure the success of great initiatives.”

PJ Library Alliance partners who have joined the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in funding these engagement grants, include: William Davidson Foundation; The Marcus Foundation, Inc.; The Azreili Foundation; Genesis Philanthropy Group; Jim Joseph Foundation; The Micah Foundation; Sam Berman Charitable Foundation; Carl and Joann Bianco; The Crown Family; Marilyn Einstein and Steven Sim Charitable Fund; Dr. Steven Grinspoon; Klaff Family Foundation; One8 Foundation; Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation; Stephen and Bebe Saks Family Foundation; Sherrie R. Savett Family Foundation; Mike and Sofia Segal Family Foundation; Susser Family Trust; Walter, Arnee, Sarah, and Aaron Winshall; Zucker Family Foundation and three anonymous partners.

To learn more PJ Library in Tidewater Parent Connectors, or to apply to become a PJ Library Parent Connector, contact Nofar Trem, PJ Library program coordinator, at ntrem@ujft.org or 757-321-2334.