Youth and Families 3 min read

Straits Invest in Young Families

By JCC Milwaukee August 4, 2020

Much more than books: PJ Library inspires Sue & Rick Strait

Our community’s engagement with young Jewish families has been enhanced for years to come thanks to Sue and Rick Strait’s recent investment in the JCC’s PJ Library program. PJ Library, created and administered by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, offers free books and programming to families raising Jewish children. This not only ensures Jewish literacy, but also fosters involvement in the Jewish community and builds longstanding friendships. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation partners with donors and agencies like our JCC to bring PJ Library to Jewish families worldwide.

Sue and Rick Strait have always been passionate about maintaining the vibrancy of Milwaukee’s Jewish community, and PJ Library is certainly helping to expand and strengthen that goal. Sue and Rick have been involved with Milwaukee’s PJ Library program since its inception. Sue has served as an advisor since the program began, offering her wisdom and the benefit of her experience. She managed to do this in her spare time among many volunteer roles in Milwaukee and within the Jewish community – including Chair of the JCC Board of Directors.

“Sue and Rick are amazing people who invest their time, energy and passion in our Jewish community,” shared JCC Community Services and Program Director Rabbi Shari Shamah. “They not only give from their hearts, they inspire others to want to get involved too. We are grateful for their support and partnership.”

The Sue & Rick Strait PJ Library Young Family Engagement endowment fund provides support for programs that will benefit young Jewish family engagement in the community for years to come. Programs that have been made possible through the fund include “JCC Family Movie Night: Parking Lot Edition,” an upcoming Rosh Hashanah outreach event, and a “Shabbat Among Friends” event. The Straits’ endowment allows for programmatic excellence. Their investment also launched a PJ Library five-year strategic planning process; a young parent focus group met earlier this year. Going forward, the JCC envisions both remote and in-person PJ Library programs that will continue to engage young families, particularly those not otherwise Jewishly affiliated.

Through the leadership of the Straits, a trusting partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and close relationships with local synagogues and other Jewish agencies, the JCC is poised to be a vast resource to our community, paving the way for a bright future.