Emma Kaufmann Camp — an overnight Jewish camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, operated by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh — is among the scores of Jewish camps in the nation that recently received financial support from JCamp 180, a core program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
The foundation plans to support more than 100 nonprofit Jewish overnight camps over the next five years through JCamp 180 via the $25 million Forward Together matching grant.
Forward Together is a 1:3 matching grant where the Harold Grinspoon Foundation gives $1 for every $3 each respective camp raises. Each camp receives a base allocation of funds; if it raises four times the allocation within the grant period, the camp receives a $10,000 bonus.
“Jewish camping is a critical piece of our Jewish community’s strategy of deeply engaging young Jews in their Jewish identity,” said Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, which supports Emma Kaufmann Camp. “We are proud of our support for Jewish summer camp and excited that this grant will assist EKC.”
“JCamp 180 and The Harold Grinspoon Foundation has helped Emma Kaufmann Camp not only improve and transform our camp physically but enhance and enrich our camper and family experience as well,” said Fara Marcus, the JCC’s chief development and marketing officer. “JCamp 180 has given our staff the opportunity to learn about all aspects of camp such as recruitment, retainment and philanthropy. JCamp 180 has opened the door to our staff, lay leaders and our greater community to learn and experience the importance of the culture of philanthropy. Our toolbox is full and ready to create meaningful and lifelong moments for campers, families, staff and community.”
Harold Grinspoon, the namesake and co-founder behind the foundation, believes camps provide impactful experiences for Jewish young people to become enveloped in Jewish traditions, values and identity.
“I never was able to go to a Jewish camp, but I know they are crucial ways for young people to plant the roots of lifelong Jewish connections,” said Grinspoon, who has invested more than $55 million in Jewish camps through JCamp 180 over the past 28 years. “I was overjoyed to have visited multiple camps in person this past summer after two summers away due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I saw camps brimming with life … The Forward Together grant renews my commitment to helping position Jewish nonprofit overnight camps for long-term sustainability for generations.”
JCamp 180 Director Sarah Eisinger said the timing of the grant is critical as many camps seek to build on past fundraising successes.
“We are proud to make this commitment over these next five years,” she said in a prepared statement. “This support will give the camps the resources and tools to maintain and steward their current donors and attract new ones.”
JCamp 180 works with more than 100 nonprofit Jewish overnight camps and nearly 40 nonprofit Jewish day camps across North America, providing them with grants, consulting, training and resources, according to organization officials. JCamp 180 leaders believe that when Jewish camps are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources for long-term organizational excellence they will operate thriving camps that create lifelong Jewish connections. PJC
Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.