Greater Waterbury Campership Fund Update: Despite pandemic, fund close to reaching goal

WATERBURY — The Greater Waterbury Campership Fund is close to reaching its target goal for the 2020 campaign despite the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted everyone’s lives.

The latest flurry of donations, including the arrival of $40,000 pledged from the David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund, has brought the collection total to $160,044, or 97% of the $165,000 goal established in early spring by the fund’s board of directors.

The generosity by individuals, businesses, civic and church groups and philanthropic entities was more than a match for the virus and is so far allowing 69 underprivileged children from the area to attend summer camp. Tuition costs so far topped out at $36,936, and the nonprofit’s volunteer board of directors last week was set to vote on another few campers who want a chance at their own life-changing experience this summer.

“Most years, we have a strict deadline to apply, but the directors felt it was important to allow late-comers to apply into this month,” said Anne Karolyi, the nonprofit’s president and managing editor of the Republican-American and the Sunday Republican. “We’re happy to be able to provide these kids with the opportunity, even in this challenging year, and apprecate the camps who decided to open with safety measures in place.”

The Campership Fund was able to cover the $157,457 in tuition costs for 434 kids who went to summer camp during the program’s 50th anniversary year in 2019. All unspent donations from this year’s collections will be applied to future tuition.

The United Way of Greater Waterbury volunteers its professional services to screen applicants for eligibility. Families who receive SNAP benefits or meet federal poverty guidelines, and with children ages 5 to 18, in Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury, are eligible to apply for camperships.

Every penny raised by the Campership Fund, a 501(c)3, goes toward sending accepted applicants to camp. Donations are accepted year round.

Contributions may be sent to Greater Waterbury Campership Fund, 389 Meadow St., Waterbury, CT 06722.

Regular donations totaling $41,000 received last week included:

• David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund, Watertown, $40,000
• Waterbury Lions Club Health Foundation, Waterbury, $250
• Ms. Patricia Dawson, Cheshire, in memory of Richard S. Dawson and Maryellen Hogrefe, $100
• Ms. Rose Ellen Theriault, Waterbury, $100
• Mr. and Mrs. Don and Diane Schmidt, Watertown, $100
• Bunker Hill Pharmacy, Waterbury, $100
• Mr. and Mrs. Greg and Barbara Hanisek, Waterbury, in memory of Bob Veillette, $100
• Ms. Elaine Strobel, Middlebury, $100
• Mr. Timothy Smith, Southbury, $100