PJ Library Seattle was honored on May 3, 2012 as being the most successful PJ Library® community in terms of market penetration. PJ Library, a donor-funded outreach strategy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to engage parents with young children, hosted Rosalie Eisen, Director of Community Development from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for a day of meetings and celebration. "Seattle is reaching the highest percentage (74%) of eligible children of any of the 160 PJ Library communities! That is fantastic even more so for a West Coast community," said Eisen.
PJ Library started as a book-based program through the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in Massachusetts. The phenomenon of its success in sending free books and CDs on a monthly basis spread quickly and now over 160 cities have PJ Library communities. In addition, PJ Library is in Canada, Israel and is looking to launch in Australia, Mexico and Latin America.
The visit from the Grinspoon Foundation was to celebrate the success of PJ Library in Seattle. The West Coast, and especially the Northwest, has a reputation as a less affiliated area of the country. Studies have shown that Jewish participation rates are low and larger cities with higher Jewish populations normally see an enrollment rate of 30-40%. Therefore, the fact that Seattle is reaching 74% of the eligible population is an indicator that families are interested in exploring their Jewish identity as a family and sharing their experiences and knowledge with their children.
The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which subsidies a portion our local PJ Library, presented a symbolic check of $166,160 to Jewish Federation President & CEO, Richard Fruchter, signifying their support over the past 3 years. "This is representative of what we have granted to the Seattle Jewish community and as you grow, this number will grow."
Donors, volunteers, Jewish organizational leaders, song leaders, staff and PJ Library parents attended the celebration. "PJ Library wouldn't be here without the generosity of our PJ Library donors and the support of our program partners," said PJ Library Manager Amy Paquette, "it is because of their philanthropy, their dedication to the Jewish people and the love of children that PJ Library in Seattle is so successful."
And PJ Library Seattle isn't slowing down. PJ Library Seattle hopes to increase expand its outreach both in terms of numbers served and geography covered. "We know that families are moving to the suburbs and in order for PJ Library to succeed in its mission of engaging families in the Jewish community we need to find them wherever they are living," said Paquette.