The Foundation for Jewish Camp is providing one-time grants to steer Jewish families to Jewish camping experiences.
Photo courtesy New Jersey YM-YWHA Camps
April 23, 2009
A $1,000 grant is available to local families sending their children to a Jewish sleep-away camp for the first time.
Part of a national camping initiative made possible by an anonymous donor, the “campership” grants represent a continuation and expansion of a program administered since 2007 by the Whippany-based Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, an agency of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ.
The camperships are not need-based; rather, they are grants calculated to steer Jewish families to Jewish camping experiences. The Foundation for Jewish Camp, which launched the campership program nationally in 2007, points to studies showing a strong correlation between attending Jewish residential camps and affiliating Jewishly later in life.
The 2009 local camperships were originally limited to the first 40 families who applied and who had a child in public school or secular private school attending Jewish residential summer camp for the first time. Families with another child who had already attended Jewish residential camp were not eligible.
The new grant lifts some of those restrictions. Enrollment is unlimited, and any child attending for the first time for at least three-and-a-half weeks is now eligible for a one-time grant, even if a sibling has already attended a Jewish sleep-away camp.
(Jewish day school and yeshiva students are still ineligible.)
Funding for the additional grants was made possible through an anonymous donor, identified only as “a Chicago businessman” by FJC. The donor originally supported the project in 2007 with $1 million. For 2008, he increased the gift to $15 million. For this summer, he made an additional $10 million grant to FJC.
“This grant enables us to sustain the program into the future and broaden its base,” said FJC director of communications Rina Goldberg. In the case of the MetroWest community, it means more slots for camperships this year; in other cases, it enables FJC to introduce the campership program into new communities, she said.
“We anticipate at least 6,000 children going to Jewish camp this summer for the first time through the Campership Incentive Program, an increase of 70 percent,” said FJC director of communications Rina Goldberg. “FJC is delighted that MetroWest and FJC together are increasing the availability of incentive grants in the community,”
The first 40 local grants were funded on a 50/50 matching basis by local donors through the Aidekman Family Foundation, and FJC. The new grants are being funded solely by FJC.
The Partnership, with fund-raising assistance from the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest, has been supporting campership grants with the FJC for three summers. MetroWest is expected to greatly expand the program in the summer of 2010.
In previous years, many families would have made their summer plans by now. But administrators say the economy has taken its toll, and families are still weighing their options.
“We’ve learned that camp enrollment has slowed this year, and people are still making up their minds. If this $1,000 will make a difference, we’re completely fine with that,” said Partnership executive director Robert Lichtman.
For more information, contact the Partnership at 973-428-7400 or visit www.onehappycamper.org to apply for a campership.