PJ Library Great Connections: More Friendships, More Jewish Stories

Aug 12, 2021 | Article

PJ Library Great Connections: More Friendships, More Jewish Stories

PJ Library Helps JEWISHcolorado Connect Jewish Families

Grants will strengthen social connections and increase opportunities for Jewish experiences and learning in U.S. and Canada


Colorado area families raising Jewish children will now have more opportunities to participate in Jewish life, thanks to a grant recently awarded by PJ Library, the flagship program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that provides free books to families raising Jewish children all over the world.

JEWISHcolorado received $25,000 to expand PJ Library Great Connections which fosters sustainable relationships and friendships between families in similar neighborhoods that share common Jewish values.

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.”  

JEWISHcolorado 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,” said JEWISHcolorado President and CEO Rabbi Jay Strear. This is the second year that JEWISHcolorado has received the Great Connections Grant. The grant helps to fund three PJ Library Connectors, two in Aurora and one in Highlands Ranch. JEWISHcolorado’s PJ Library Professional Susan Chayet said this expansion of the program helps to,build community and social connections over time among families raising Jewish children, especially those who live near one another, through peer-to-peer relationships.”

The 13 winning grant proposals were chosen through a competitive process open to organizations implementing PJ Library 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,” said 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.”

(L to R) JEWISHcolorado’s Susan Chayet, with Deborah Toole in Highlands Ranch, Alyssa Swall and Ilyse Bekerman in Aurora.

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 & Joann Bianco; The Crown Family; Marilyn Einstein & Steven Sim Charitable Fund; Dr. Steven Grinspoon; Klaff Family Foundation; One8 Foundation; Howard & Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation; Stephen and Bebe Saks Family Foundation; Sherrie R. Savett Family Foundation; Mike & Sofia Segal Family Foundation; Susser Family Trust; Walter, Arnee, Sarah, & Aaron Winshall; Zucker Family Foundation and three anonymous partners.

For more information contact Susan Chayet at schayet@jewishcolorado.org