Tamarack Camps Legacy Program

by Deena Lockman, Chief Development Officer, Tamarack Camps

"If it is important to support today, it is important to support it tomorrow as well. This resonates loudly with us both.  When it came to creating a legacy gift for Tamarack Camps, this general principle came into play…. We felt that it was our responsibility to 'pay it forward' and do our part in ensuring that the agency could continue to grow and thrive for future generations," Alan and Sharyn Gallatin explain. 

Tamarack Camps has increased legacy commitments by 100% since beginning the JCamp 180 Legacy Program in 2008.  Tamarack lay leaders and professional staff started the program at Harold Grinspoon's house, attended many sessions at JCamp 180 conferences and worked as a lay/professional team to secure 73 new legacy commitments by the end of the 3-year program.

After becoming a Tamarack Hills Legacy Circle Member, he/she continues to hear from and be asked to engage in the camp.  At least once annually, a parlor meeting or camp visit is held to update Legacy Circle members as well as inspire new membership.  Last summer, the Legacy Circle was invited to a barbecue with the Board at Camp Maas (our primary residential camp). At that session, they not only heard the latest Tamarack news and toured the new facilities, but they also had an opportunity to share their stories.  It was very moving listening to the different reasons people decided to assure a future for Tamarack Camps.  

"Tamarack's programs had a very direct and beneficial effect on my life and the lives of my children," said Rob Schwartz, a recent THLC member. "By giving a legacy gift I can play a direct role in ensuring that future generations will have those same opportunities."

"It was our dream to insure that Tamarack Camps would provide the opportunity for a Jewish camping experience for future generations…This empowering message inspired our children to each become legacy donors.  L'dor vador: from generation to generation.  We believe a legacy gift is one of the most meaningful and impactful ways to support an organization," state Stacy and Jeffrey Brodsky.

In addition to events, Legacy Circle members receive personalized Rosh Hashanah cards, Annual Reports, and phone calls during the year.

Since JCamp 180 incentives stopped several years ago, it had been a challenge to continue the campaign.  The entire agency was focused on raising the $1 million annually needed to "Send a Kid to Tamarack" (actually 500 kids) as well as $10 million needed (out of a $26 million campaign) for building new facilities at camp. No one had time to think ahead to needs well into the future.

Then, as the new facilities started going up and our new JCamp 180 mentor, Mitch Kupperman, started to encourage us to proceed, camp leaders realized they needed to ensure the structures last for generations. A cash flow, raised now and realized later, would work wonders for future expenses of facility maintenance and scholarships.

"We inherited the legacy of our forefathers' dreams and plans.  Now it is our turn to build and plan for future generations. Our brand new buildings have been designed to last into the next century.  That will only occur if we provide Legacy gifts and build our maintenance and scholarship endowments," Past President Brian Kepes explains.

In 2016, a new strategic plan was developed for the agency.  It calls for securing 60 new legacy gifts over the next 3 years. When the Board approved the plan, they also made a commitment-to become legacy members, and to discuss the importance of legacy with their friends and family.   The Board president committed to ten minutes at every Board meeting to education about Legacy giving and recognition of new Board Tamarack Hills Legacy Circle members. 

By making Legacy an agency strategic issue, the Board is empowering the development staff to spend time creating a Legacy campaign, reaching out to potential Legacy donors (who are not always the largest donors), and tracking Legacy commitments along with the usual donor/donation data.

By the end of 2019, Tamarack Camps expects to have more than 200 Legacy members - enjoying the present, honoring the past, and assuring the future.

"My father, Fred Findling, a Holocaust survivor, spent his first summer in the United States at Tamarack Camps.  His summer camp experience exposed him to celebratory Judaism and instilled in him a lifelong commitment to living a vibrant and engaged Jewish life.  Since then more than 12 family members…have had a Tamarack experience…We continue to invest in Tamarack Camps so that others may have the same experience," Darren Findling says with pride.

For more information, please contact Becca Goodman, Associate Development Director, [email protected]