The Charlotte Observer has raised nearly $180,000 to send children to camp in its annual Summer Camp Fund campaign this year.
This summer, more than 500 kids attended 33 camps thanks to donations from Observer readers and the community. The money that was raised this year will help send hundreds more to camp next year.
“I’m so humbled and grateful to Observer readers for their generosity,” said publisher Rodney Mahone. “They have been very generous in providing the funding for these children.”
This is the 10th year for the Observer’s Summer Camp Fund. Since 2009, the fund has raised over $1.5 million and sent more than 3,000 children to a variety of day and sleep-away camps.
The Summer Camp Fund fundraising chairwoman this year was Pat Rodgers, president and CEO of Rodgers construction company. Rodgers herself attended summer camp as a young girl and said she met friends and learned life lessons.
Among the major donors this year was The Hendrick Family Foundation, which donated $20,000.
“It’s hard to overstate what the experience of going to summer camp can do for a child,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, “They’re able to learn leadership skills, meet new and different people, and make lasting memories.”
The Summer Camp Fund makes those opportunities possible, said Hendrick, who was the Summer Camp Fund chair in 2015. “It’s an adventure that can be truly life-changing.”
The summer camps that the Observer sends children to have a strong nature component.
“We know that exposure to the outdoors for children who’ve only known an urban environment adds life-changing value on multiple levels,” Mahone said.
The camps also have a literacy component.
Mahone said that as a child he attended summer camps with a learning focus. “To have that opportunity to continue learning during the summer helped me stay caught up with my class and ahead of the game,” he said.
Mahone applauded the partnership with the community. “It really is a win-win for the Observer and for the children of the Charlotte area.”