“In buying property, Harold looked for undervalued assets and we helped to turn them around,” said Troderman, 71. “In his head, whether it is literacy or Jewish camps, his philanthropy is about undervalued assets.”
The PJ Library is the organization’s flagship program. it began in 2006 in Western Massachusetts with 200 families. Grinspoon said the hope at the time was to expand to 5,000 families within five years.
It grew a little faster than that. In 2012, Grinspoon hand-delivered the library’s 3 millionth book to a girl in New Jersey.
Today, there are PJ Library families in Mexico, Argentina, and Australia. In 2013, Grinspoon and Troderman will travel again to Russia to lay the groundwork for PJ Libraries in that country.
In Israel, a sister program called Sifriyat Pijama sends books directly to 4,000 preschools, nearly 40 percent of all such schools in Israel. It’s cosponsored by the Grinspoon Foundation and the Israeli Ministry of Education.
So why does Grinspoon, so cautious with his money, spend so much on Jewish education?
It’s simple, he said: “Return on investment.”