Jewish camp provides the most fertile institutional setting in which young people — both campers and staff — develop a love for joyous Judaism. This is the heart of our work at Foundation for Jewish Camp.
We have long believed that an investment in Jewish camp will continue to provide dividends far into the future. Now, the Jewish Funders Network has just published a Greenbook, A Guide to Intelligent Giving: Funding Jewish Overnight Camp, by Ramie Arian, which we hope will provide guidance for future investment.
This Greenbook is the fourth in a series of publications that the Jewish Funders Network has created to serve as resources for philanthropists to dive deep into issues in the Jewish community that need attention. Each Greenbook maps out the relevant history, the approaches being taken to address the issue, and the identification of unmet needs.
The Greenbook on Funding Jewish Overnight Camp aims to inform the vital conversation about the role of Jewish camps in fostering Jewish identity and commitment to Jewish life. It articulates some of the challenges, offers background information, and brings to light some of the newer initiatives that have contributed to the growth and success of the field of Jewish overnight camp. The book also gives readers an in-depth look into why Jewish camp matters and the positive impact it continues to have on the Jewish community. From there, funders can explore various approaches of supporting camp by investing in capacity building, affordability, and leadership development to ensure that more children and teens are able to take advantage of all that camp has to offer.
By looking at Jewish overnight camp in this holistic way, philanthropists get a better understanding of the unique needs and opportunities that camp presents and engages funders in helping move the field forward whether on a local or continental level. The Greenbook cites the leadership of FJC in conjunction with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s JCamp180, to enable the field to reach its full potential.
We are extremely grateful to Tali and Sender Cohen who have funded this Greenbook in memory of Getzel Cohen (z”l) who cherished his camp experience, which proved formative for his Jewish identity. Getzel became a staunch advocate for Jewish camping for all children and helped create a Jewish overnight camp incentive program in Cincinnati.
As Foundation for Jewish Camp celebrates its 18th year anniversary, this Greenbook is a testament to how far the field of Jewish camp has come as well as a vote of confidence in the long-term impact Jewish camp can have in ensuring the Jewish future. It is also a tribute to the collaboration that is taking place across the field, among funders, organizations, and camps.
I hope that you will take the time to read through the Greenbook and I look forward to your reactions, feedback, and questions.