Francine Lavin Weaver of Camp Ramah in the Rockies Receives 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist Award
AGAWAM, Mass. - This month, JCamp180®, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), hosted more than 450 leaders from non-profit Jewish camps and other organizations during its 11th annual conference. During the event, top individuals and camps were honored for their growth in managing their daily operations and for their collective efforts in raising $90 million through HGF's matching challenge grant campaigns to support Jewish children's camps across the country.
Francine Lavin Weaver of Denver, Colorado, was presented with the Outstanding Philanthropist Award for her significant contributions benefiting generations of Jewish children. Ms. Weaver was one of the lead donors who helped the Jewish community of Colorado fund the purchase of a large mountain ranch that is today the home of Camp Ramah in the Rockies. Since that time, her 18 Pomegranates foundation has supported Camp Ramah in the Rockies' annual scholarship fund and has become one of the lead funders of Colorado's One Happy Camper program, which provides financial incentive to campers attending Jewish overnight camp for the first time. Most recently, Ms. Weaver helped the camp complete its vision for a more permanent system of camper tents through the construction of the "K'far Rimon" tent village and supported the 2014 construction of the camp's Beit Kesher, a 7,800-square-foot retreat center and staff lounge. Because of Ms. Weaver's dedication and philanthropy over the past 15 years, Jewish children from Colorado and around the country can now experience the magic of Camp Ramah in Rockies. Ms. Weaver was at the Massachusetts conference to accept the award, which included a plaque and a $2,500 cash donation to the camp. "With this award, Ms. Weaver joins a distinguished group of philanthropists who have made significant contributions to the world of Jewish camps," said JCamp180® Director Mark Gold. "We are thrilled to have been able to recognize her contributions through this award."
To date, JCamp180® has contributed more than $15 million in matching grant funds and $13 million in consulting services, which equates to more than 80,000 hours, for Jewish children's overnight and day camps. The result: Jewish camps have raised another $225 million on their own to be used for capital improvements, expansions, and endowments, helping Jewish camp attendance grow from 43,000 in 2004 to 73,000 campers across the nation today.
Today, JCamp180® serves 125 camps. The goal of the program is to engage Jewish camp leaders in utilizing best practices, helping them to grow attendance by improving their facilities, better using technology and social media, and raising funds for scholarships, capital improvements, and endowments. JCamp180® staff work onsite with camp professional and lay leaders to help with board development, governance, strategic planning, alumni outreach, and other personalized organizational, recruitment, and fundraising initiatives. Participating camps take part in successive matching grant initiatives led by JCamp180®.
"JCamp180® has played a major role in transforming camps into more professional and sophisticated organizations," says Gold. "This program has helped these non-profit Jewish camps raise more money in the last ten years than they had in the previous four decades, thereby enabling them to better compete with other non-profit and for-profit camps."
During the 11th annual JCamp 180 Conference, participants took part in training sessions, workshops, networking opportunities, and speaking programs geared to help non-profits better manage their operations. Speakers included Andy Shaindlin, the founder of Alumni Futures and an expert on alumni engagement; Amy Friedman, senior advisor at Viacom Corp. and a recognized expert on the millennial generation; Jeff Schreifels, a partner in the Veritus Group; and Stacey Jaffe, the Managing Director of Social Media and Community for Teach For America. These four speakers and dozens of workshop leaders led discussion on the conference theme "Year-round and Lifelong: Connect, Engage, and Inspire." Other topics covered included fundraising, board development, strategic planning, and technology.
About JCamp 180®:
JCamp180® is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, located in Agawam, Massachusetts. JCamp180® provides training and support to the Boards of Directors of non-profit Jewish overnight camps and selected educational institutions in the areas of Board Development, Strategic Planning, and Development. In addition to this Board support, JCamp180®also provides these institutions with technology assistance ranging from Web-related services to donor databases and social media. For further information about JCamp180®, visit www.JCamp180.org.