Summer Camp Fund

Foundation For The Carolinas pledges to help Observer camp fund reach goal

The Foundation For The Carolinas pledged this week to help The Charlotte Observer’s Summer Camp Fund achieve its $150,000 goal – so long as the newspaper hits $140,000 in donations on its own.

To receive the challenge grant money, donations to the fund must reach or exceed $140,000 by Aug. 15, foundation officials said. If $140,000 is reached, the foundation will give what is needed to achieve the $150,000 goal.

As of midweek, donations to the fund totaled $132,395.

“I can’t think of a better way to end this campaign than to have the Foundation For The Carolinas come in” with a challenge grant to reach the fund’s largest goal ever, Charlotte Observer Publisher Ann Caulkins said.

This summer, more than 260 kids from area low-income families are attending 14 different summer camps around the region, thanks to donations made in last year’s campaign. Money raised this year will send children to camp next year.

“The relationships children build at camp have the power to transcend their neighborhoods, schools and life circumstances,” said Brian Collier, executive vice president for Foundation For The Carolinas.

This year, readers have donated more than ever before, many writing $50, $100 and $200 checks, in addition to corporate and foundation gifts to the fund.

Community leaders and philanthropists Sally and Russell Robinson are this year’s Summer Camp Fund honorary chairs.

“Like Sally and Russell Robinson, we believe summer camp can be a defining childhood experience,” Collier said.

Caulkins praised the Robinsons’ commitment to the fund.

“It’s been inspiring how active and interested Sally and Russell Robinson have been,” Caulkins said. “Their love for helping deserving kids get to go to summer camp is so strong, and our readers have picked up on this.”

Hitting the $150,000 mark would “send a lot of kids to camp,” said Caulkins, and that opportunity “is life-changing.”