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Summer Camp Fund breaks record by raising $141,229.73

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  • Summer Camp Fund donors

    The fund raised $141,229.73 this year. Recent donors include:

    Patricia G. David $30

    Anonymous $100

    Anonymous $50

    In honor of the June & Hugh McColl Family by Craig & Martha Wardlow $5,000

    Peggy C. Howard $100

    Cara B. Munday $30

    Mary M. Gillespie $100

    Anonymous $150

    Joe & Susan Loparco $50

    Marjorie B. Haworth $100

    Mr. & Mrs. Richard Hahn $250

    Anonymous $500

    In memory of Faye J. Lewis $25

    Ron & Barbara Shiffler $100

    Anonymous $100

    Grady G. Thomas Jr. $1,000

    Emily & Zach Smith $100

    John & Jane Spratt $1,000

    David M. Herald $50

    Charles W. McRee $25

    Jill S. Martin $50

    Anonymous $200

    Anonymous $50

    Timothy H. Hose $200

    Anonymous $20

    Anonymous $100

    Ed Spears $100

    In honor of Shelter Health Services $50

    Ronnie & Paulette Sherrill $500

    Marie S. Baker $50

    Red Dog Drilling $100

    Marsha & Carl Scheer $100

    Anonymous $100

    Anonymous $100

    Anonymous $40

    Joel Rutledge $100

    Nancy Conner $100

    Thomas DeVries $25

    Denise O’Leary $100

    In memory of Grace & Rufus Boutwell $100

    Ellyn Ritterskamp $50

    Catherine El-Khouri $100

    Terry Oelschlaeger $100

    In honor of Libby $100

    Jena Gallagher $500

    In honor of Officer Lisa Speas - a tireless worker for at-risk youth in Charlotte $50

    Janine Lafferty $25

    The Corners Society $1,000

    Chad & Kelly Kidney $250

    Jeff Mitchiner $100

    Anonymous $100

    From your friends at Queens University of Charlotte $1,000

    Simon Prendiville $100

    Amy Thomas $100

    William Brightman $100

    Eleanor Dailey $50

    In memory of Tom Dulin Jr. $100

    F. William Vandiver Jr. $200

    Mary & Walt Beaver $100

    In honor of Hugh McColl $200

    Harry Clark $100

    Woodie & Shep Robinson $100

    Kevin McNamara $100

    In honor of Hugh & Jane McColl $1,000

    For Shawn $50

    Jerome J. Richardson $1,000

    In memory of Joe Sovacool $200

    Anonymous $100

    Anonymous $500

    Reid & Nancy Joyner $100

    Carolyn R. Farris $50

    Elaine H. Largen $20

    In honor of our grandchildren by Elizabeth & Patrick Kelly $100

    Anonymous $200

    The Cooley Family Foundation $1,000

    Anonymous $50

    In honor of the Michael Efird Family $100

    Fieldstone Presbyterian Church $400

    Jan C. Foster $100

    Holly H. Duncan $100

    James & Cristina Bolling $200

    Julie Male $50



Hundreds of Charlotte-area children from low-income families will make memories at camp next summer, thanks to the generosity of Charlotte Observer readers and the community, who donated a record $141,229.73 for the newspaper’s 2013 Summer Camp Fund.

Last Sunday, fund honorary chairman Hugh McColl Jr. asked readers for one last surge of generosity to reach the fund’s $100,000 goal. That amount was needed to receive a $20,000 challenge grant from the Leon Levine Foundation.

Readers far surpassed the goal. The biggest donation of the week came from Rick and Linda Hendrick, who pledged $10,000 on Tuesday. Hendrick is chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports.

“I’m extremely gratified by the generosity of all of the people who have supported the fund,” McColl said. “To have raised more than $100,000 from gifts as small as $5 to as large as $10,000 is an astounding success and it speaks volumes about the people who live here in our region.

“The good news is that the recipients of this generosity will be young people who will get camp experiences that they otherwise would never have had,” he continued. “People who have been so generous have done a world of good.”

McColl said Hendrick phoned him with his $10,000 pledge.

“He and his family have been tremendously helpful to children coming from disadvantaged situations, so this is nothing new to him,” McColl said.

Rick Hendrick said he learned of the camp fund while reading the newspaper and decided it was a worthy cause.

“We thought it was a wonderful thing for kids here in Charlotte and wanted to join the many other readers who have gotten involved,” he said.

Last year, the Summer Camp Fund raised about $80,000, which paid for 206 children to attend 12 day and overnight camps this summer.

Thanks to the record number of donations, more than 300 children are expected to be able to attend camp next summer.

Ann Caulkins, publisher of The Charlotte Observer, says she was “blown away” by the response from readers throughout this year’s campaign.

“The generosity and support from our readers and key supporters has been inspirational,” Caulkins said.

“What we’re all about is wanting to change the lives of children by giving them that summer camp experience,” Caulkins said. “In having this record-breaking year with the Summer Camp Fund, we can do that” on a bigger level, she said.

Camp directors say the scholarship money enriches not only the lives of children who receive the funds, but all children at camp.

“There are so many families that are struggling financially trying to raise their children with autism,” said Sara Gage, director of Camp Royall, a residential camp near Pittsboro for people of all ages with autism.

Nearly a third of the 340 campers at Camp Royall receive financial assistance from a range of scholarships including the Observer’s.

“We wouldn’t be able to serve all the campers we do without financial support like this,” Gage says.

At Camp Thunderbird, a residential camp on Lake Wylie run by the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, Gretchen Rohleder, senior development officer for Camp Thunderbird and Camp Harrison, said that having scholarship campers “is really key for all of our campers, not just for the campers who are there on financial aid.”

“Part of what’s so special about camp is that children are able to make friendships and learn and grow in an environment that is diverse.”

At least 10 percent of campers at Camp Thunderbird are on scholarships, she said.

Tom Lawrence, executive director for the Leon Levine Foundation, said he was pleased to give the $20,000 challenge grant.

“We’re very proud that Charlotte has risen to the challenge of supporting these children, and we are excited to make this $20,000 contribution,” Lawrence said.

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