New Funding Generates More Grants for First-Time Campers

“One Happy Camper is a wonderful resource and the primary reason we even began the discussion about sending our child to camp. It was a great decision.
My kids had a wonderful experience, made great friends
and strengthened their bond to the Jewish Community.”
  OHC Recipient Family, Atlanta, GA

By Jeremy J. Fingerman

How do you keep a successful and effective decade-old program fresh and relevant?

Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) has been able to do exactly that! Recently, we have received new donor investments to expand the One Happy Camper® (OHC) program – which provides incentive grants up to $1,000 on a needs-blind basis to first-time campers. As a result, this summer, more than 7,000 kids will experience Jewish summer camp for the first time.

The core mission of Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) is to grow the number of kids attending Jewish summer camp. With the generous support of an anonymous donor, in 2006 FJC established the One Happy Camper® program to encourage parents – especially those families who may be less involved in Jewish life – to choose a nonprofit Jewish summer experience over other secular options. To date, One Happy Camper® has awarded more than 70,000 first time camper grants.

We are thrilled that new funding has been matched and leveraged by incremental funds raised by current and new community partners and will result in more grants awarded for this summer. FJC is adding three new communities – Charleston, Phoenix, and San Antonio – to our existing 40 federation partners for 2017.

Over the next five years, FJC seeks new funds in order to bring on an additional 15-20 new communities, ensuring more children go to camp. These partners – a mix of large and small communities – will combine with current OHC partners to award 500-1,000 additional first-time camper grants each summer.

One Happy Camper® is much more than an incentive grant. The initial investment enabled FJC to create a sophisticated infrastructure that is the cornerstone of the program – its partnerships. Together, our partnerships with federations, other foundations, PJ Goes to Camp, JWest, and individual camps and movements have changed the views of Jewish summer camp and increased the demand for and philanthropic interest in Jewish camp locally.

For many communities, OHC has been a catalyst for local efforts to expand camp scholarship funds, invest in middle income grants for returning campers, and develop robust marketing campaigns that raise local awareness of the many Jewish summer camp options. OHC has become a critical element of our partners’ services to their constituents.

We believe Jewish camp provides the most fertile educational setting in which young people – both campers and staff – develop a love for Joyous Judaism. We continue to be advocates for increased investment in Jewish camp as a powerful and effective strategy to ensure Jewish connection, yielding an attractive return.

Working with our funders and partners across North America, we will nurture and guide One Happy Camper® into its second decade of introducing Jewish camp to every Jewish child. In doing so, we will build and secure a more vibrant Jewish future.

Jeremy J. Fingerman is CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp.