Mar 20, 2014

$11.6 Million Raised by Ramah Camping Movement

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National Ramah Commission, Inc. of The Jewish Theological Seminary
Huge Growth in New Investment from Donors and Foundations in 2013-14
for Camps, Israel Programs, and Movement-Wide Initiatives

Now serving over 10,000 children, teens, and young adults each summer

Reshet Ramah alumni network extends the camp experience into adulthood

View article in eJewishPhilanthropy

The National Ramah Commission has received foundation grants and donor pledges of
$3.8 million in the last twelve months, while individual Ramah camps and Israel programs have raised $7.8 million for scholarships, endowments, capital development, and program innovation.

nrcNational Ramah 2013-14 initiatives that have been strengthened by foundation and philanthropic support include:

  • Ramah Service Corps - Twenty-eight young adult Ramah staff leaders bring the magic of camp into congregational and community life year-round through part-time and full-time initiatives across North America. These leaders also serve as outstanding camp recruiters and are encouraged to consider careers in Jewish leadership.

  • Reshet Ramah Alumni Initiative and Community Engagement - The Reshet Ramah alumni network is extending the Ramah experience into adulthood among thousands of alumni through a wide range of programming, social and professional networking, Jewish learning, travel, and online connectivity, including the Ramah365 app.

  • Young Adult Leadership Development - Four new cohorts of 85 exceptional young adult leaders convene regularly for retreats, professional development, online learning and discussion, and the creation of Ramah movement-wide projects such as "Shabbat Across Ramah."

  • Special Needs Programs - Building upon more than 40 years of successful Tikvah programming, Ramah camps are offering more options for campers and staff with disabilities. In addition, the National Ramah Tikvah Network is offering new national training programs for staff working with campers with disabilities and their families.

  • Ramah Service Corps - Twenty-eight young adult Ramah staff leaders bring the magic of camp into congregational and community life year-round through part-time and full-time initiatives across North America. These leaders also serve as outstanding camp recruiters and are encouraged to consider careers in Jewish leadership.

  • Ramah Israel - New programmatic developments include expansion of the inspirational TRY spring high school semester in Israel program to include a fall semester and integration of a weeklong trip to Poland into the curriculum. Ramah Israel Seminar for teens is offering a new track of outdoor adventure, and both TRY and Seminar have a significant increase in the availability of scholarship funds.

As we continue to secure more funding to strengthen and grow our camps and expand Ramah camping, we take great pride as recipients of these gifts and this investment in Ramah. As demographic studies consistently demonstrate, Ramah camping is one of the most effective means of building Jewish identity. We believe that the unique religious, educational, and recreational programming at Ramah is a proven formula for success.

We are pleased that so many funders recognize the outstanding success of Ramah and are investing in our future -- the future of the Jewish people!  
Highlights of recent fundraising activity at our camps include:

  • The Ramah Berkshires annual fund raised more than $550,000 in 2013. In addition, the Och/Kalver/Halbright family made a generous lead gift towards the renovation of the camp's Bet Am Bet theater. The camp continues to grow its Yerusha legacy society, which now has 124 members, and has significantly increased its outdoor adventure programming, including more back-country hiking trips and a high ropes course.

  • Ramah California's Hayom U'letamid Initiative (accessibility in perpetuity), an effort begun in early December 2013, has raised over $2.75 million for an endowment dedicated to financial accessibility (lead donors: Marc & Julie Platt and Lou & Judy Miller). New funding will also help expand programming options for younger campers and provide resources to significantly increase teen opportunities for outdoor adventure.

  • Ramah Canada received a generous gift from the Harold and Carole Wolfe family in honour of Ab Flatt's 85th birthday towards the construction of a new 2.2 km adventure course through 200+ acres of land, paving the way for the introduction this summer of Etgar Ramah ("Ramah Challenge"), a new program that features biking and hiking for all age groups.

  • Ramah Darom, now entering its 18th "chai" year of operation, has raised over $1.1 million in the last six months for its annual fund for capital development, as well as to support Camp Yofi, its inspiring family camp program for families with children with autism. Fifty-five people have joined the Mapal legacy society to help secure the camp's future.

  • Ramah New England has raised more than $700,000 toward a new chadar ochel since the summer. In addition, a lead grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation of Baltimore, Maryland, will allow the camp to upgrade and expand its Tikvah vocational training program, Tochnit Avodah. This program enables young people with disabilities to gain employment experience and training in a summer camp setting.

  • Ramah Day Camp in Nyack has raised more than $500,000 in recent months, including a $250,000 lead gift from the Zinbarg family towards a major kitchen renovation project and a $125,000 gift from the Rosen family toward the building of an air-conditioned gym. A generous gift from the Areivim Philanthropic Group supports the new Sha'ar Hebrew immersion program for entering kindergarten and first-grade campers.

  • Ramah Outdoor Adventure at Ramah in the Rockies has raised approximately $1 million this year, including a lead gift to build a new retreat center and staff housing complex and $100,000 to support need-based assistance, especially for middle-income day school families who need financial assistance to afford camp.

  • Ramah Poconos has raised more than $500,000 in new investments this year, including funding to launch a new Tikvah program in future summers, a very successful annual campaign and tribute dinner, and a $50,000 endowment to support staff programming. Building on the success of the Ramah Basketball Academy, the camp has partnered with Julian Krinsky Camps to offer the Ramah Tennis Academy this summer.

  • Ramah Wisconsin has received a $1 million challenge grant from the Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation. The camp also received a grant for annual programming from the Zell Family Foundation, a grant for scholarships, staff training and Tikvah programming from the Crown Family, a $28,000 Signature Grant from the Covenant Foundation to enhance theater arts programming, a grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp to support scholarships for campers from small communities, and grants to explore the spirituality of girls and women in the egalitarian camp setting and to partner with Mechon Hadar in a winter yeshiva learning program.
Ramah is the camping arm of Conservative Judaism. Together, our programs provide Ramah experiences for 10,000 children, teens, and young adults annually. The National Ramah Commission of The Jewish Theological Seminary provides oversight and educational planning on behalf of the network of Ramah camps throughout North America and Israel.

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