Foundation for Jewish Camp Awards $2.6 Million to Camps to Facilitate Greater Inclusion
Summer Camps Embark on Capital Improvements to Increase Accessibility for Campers & Staff
New York, NY — At a time when camp is more critical than ever, Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) has just announced the 13 camps across North America chosen for the third round of groundbreaking grants, totaling $2.6 million, through its Yashar Initiative to increase accessibility for campers and staff with disabilities.
Part of a larger $12 million initiative generously funded by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, “Yashar” — the Hebrew word for both “level” and “integrity” — is responsible for significant improvements to accessibility and inclusion at camp, providing funds for capital improvements, professional development, staff training, research, and evaluation. Supporting a wide range of campers and staff, including individuals with autism spectrum disorder, as well as those with intellectual, developmental, physical, and sensory disabilities; the Yashar Initiative aims to not only increase the quality of inclusion, but the quantity. Each grant recipient has committed to increasing their total campers with disabilities to at least 5% of the total camper population.
Supporting camps as they strategically address major barriers for participation remains critical, especially as camps prepare to reopen in summer 2021. “The Yashar Initiative has been a catalyst for growth over the past two years and after a difficult year of social isolation and separation, we know that all children, teens, and youth need camp this summer more than ever,” said Jeremy J. Fingerman, FJC’s CEO. “FJC is excited to see the continued and growing interest in expanding efforts to serve campers with disabilities, especially during this very trying year. Camps continue to demonstrate their commitment and prioritization of this important work.”
The 13 camps awarded this round of Yashar grants reflect a diverse mix of seven overnight and six day camps, from different regions and a range of affiliations, ensuring broad reach and impact:
- Camp JCA Shalom (Malibu, CA)
- Camp TEKO (Long Lake, MN)
- URJ Henry S Jacobs Camp (Utica, MS)
- Camp Yavneh (Northwood, NH)
- JCC Camp Ruach (Bridgewater, NJ)
- Neil Klatskin JCC Camp (Tenafly, NJ)
- Island Quest Day Camp (Long Island, NY)
- 92Y Camps (Pearl River, NY)
- Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan Camp Settoga (Pomona, NY)
- B’nai B’rith Camp in Oregon (Beaverton, OR)
- URJ Camp Harlam (Kunkletown, PA)
- NJY Round Lake Camp (Milford, PA)
- Camp Ramah in Wisconsin (Conover, WI)
The approved projects include a fully accessible sports complex, a new fully inclusive outdoor space with an instrument and growing garden, accessible aquatic centers, accessibility upgrades to buildings and cabins, paved pathways, and more to ensure campers can move throughout the day easily. In addition to the funding for these capital improvements, the camps will receive program grants totaling over $260,000 to help support efforts in staff training, program development, and evaluation.
This is the third round of Yashar grantees. Since the program launched in 2019, Foundation for Jewish Camp has awarded over $8 million in grants to 39 camps through the Yashar Initiative. Participating camps from all rounds are invited to participate in FJC’s Yashar trainings, which take place throughout the year.
Fingerman adds: “In order to better serve the needs of the entire Jewish community, through Yashar, Jewish summer camps continue to adapt their campgrounds to welcome all campers, regardless of ability. FJC is proud to be facilitating the funding, training, and innovation needed to make Jewish camps as welcoming and inclusive as they can possibly be.”
Foundation for Jewish Camp will welcome the fourth round of camps into the Yashar Initiative later this Fall.
About Foundation for Jewish Camp: Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) fosters excellence and accelerates innovation at Jewish camps across North America by developing adaptive talent, deepening immersive learning experiences, and catalyzing field growth. Founded in 1998, FJC elevates Jewish camp on the cultural and philanthropic agenda, creating opportunities to engage even more young people in Jewish camp through groundbreaking programs such as One Happy Camper® and FJC’s Specialty Camps Incubator. FJC advocates for over 300 day and overnight camps that provide nearly 180,000 campers and counselors each summer with a meaningful, personal, and lifelong connection to Judaism. FJC is a public 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information, please visit: jewishcamp.org.
About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation: The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, is dedicated to meeting the basic needs of people experiencing poverty. The Foundation provides approximately $130 million each year in total grant activity supporting nonprofits that provide direct services in the areas of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services. The Foundation’s priority communities include Baltimore, Chicago, Hawaiʻi, Israel, New York City, Northeastern Pennsylvania, San Francisco, and Rural Communities (primarily rural areas within proximity to priority communities). The Foundation’s trustees are Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin (Ret.), Chair; Robert T. Kelly, Jr.; Paula B. Pretlow; Gordon Berlin; and Nimrod Goor. Rachel Garbow Monroe serves as President and CEO. For more information, please visit www.hjweinbergfoundation.org.