PJ Library Helps Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine/PJ Library Southern Maine Connect Jewish Families and Celebrate Jewish Life
For Immediate Release
July 9th, 2019 – Portland, ME
York County and Bath/Brunswick 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.
PJ Library Southern Maine received $8,000 to launch a PJ Library Ambassadors Program. Parent ambassadors will create networks of families in specific neighborhoods to develop hyper-local programming that fits the needs of families in their area.
The winning initiatives are designed to build social connections among families and engage them in Jewish life, programming, or learning. They range from ongoing neighborhood meet-ups to Shabbat-themed workshops and dinners.
“PJ Library Southern Maine is honored to receive this grant, and thrilled to be part of the global PJ Library community reaching more than 640,000 subscribers across 21 countries” said Molly Curren Rowles, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Alliance. “Here in Southern Maine, we distributed 4,985 books in the past year, and recently expanded to serve children through age 12 with the ‘PJ our Way’ program. This grant will give us an incredible opportunity to continue to strengthen and extend our relationships with families throughout our PJ Library service area, which covers York, Cumberland, Androscoggin, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties. We are so grateful for the vision and support of the HGF and the PJ Library Alliance partners that made this possible!”
Grants will strengthen social connections and increase opportunities for Jewish experiences and learning across the United States and Canada
The 13 winning grant proposals were chosen through a competitive process open to organizations implementing PJ Library across North America. 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 170,000 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 now we are grateful to be able to add financial support to help ensure the success of great initiatives.”
To extend Jewish engagement in North America, generous PJ Library Alliance partners have joined the HGF in funding these grants as part of a five-year engagement strategy. Alliance partners include the William Davidson Foundation; The Marcus Foundation, Inc.; Genesis Philanthropy Group; The Azrieli Foundation; Jim Joseph Foundation; William and Audrey Farber Philanthropic Fund; Diane and Guilford Glazer/Jewish Community Foundation of LA; The Micah Foundation; The Sam Berman Charitable Foundation; Carl and Joann Bianco; The Crown Family; Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation; The 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.