Greater Waterbury Campership Fund Update: Mannweiler Trust among early bird donors with $51,884 gift

WATERBURY — The Greater Waterbury Campership Fund is off to a promising start for the new year with donations already coming in, including a third installment from the Elsie R. Mannweiler Trust that was a major source of revenue in 2020.

The 2021 campaign has not yet officially kicked off but donations are accepted year-round, and new contributions have reached $52,664 in a scant 10 days since the calendar proclaimed 2021.

Formerly of Woodbury, Mannweiler, 100, had been a resident of The Watermark at East Hill senior living facility in Southbury for 14 years until her passing in November 2019. A divorcee who never remarried, she was predeceased by a son years ago.

An astute follower of the stock market and savvy with finances, Mannweiler had built up her assets and was a generous contributor to area charities. The Campership Fund was notified last spring that her trust was forwarding significant donations to the program. In April $71,072 came in, and a second installment of $34,761 later followed; last week the anticipated third donation, for $51,884, was made.

All together, the Mannweiler Trust has accounted for a generous $157,717 in revenues for the Campership Fund over the past 10 months.
The pandemic-curtailed 2020 camping season had 72 underprivileged children from Greater Waterbury attending outdoor facilities throughout the state at a cost of $36,646 for tuition.

The Campership Fund’s all-volunteer board of directors will decide this winter how the surplus funding remaining from the $208,778 that came in last year will be disbursed in the program.

“With vaccines and under distribution, we hope more children can enjoy the benefits of summer camp this year,” said Campership Fund President Anne Karolyi, managing editor of the Republican-American and The Sunday Republican. “Regardless, all money donated for tuition will always go toward summer camp tuition at some point.”

The Campership Fund, a 501(c) 3, is mandated to adhere to guidelines of no salaries for the board and no expenses, with every penny raised going to the cost of sending children to camp.

Philanthropic entities or sources like the Mannweiler Trust, large and small businesses, civic groups and church organizations, schools and clubs — and of course caring individuals — combine annually to keep the money stream flowing so kids, many from urban settings, can have a week of thrilling summertime experiences at camp.

The Campership Fund board and its many helpers are hopeful fun events that were canceled in 2020, including the Big Green Truck Pizza party and solicitation night at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, are among those that make triumphant returns later in 2021, although it’s too early to tell as the state remains locked under a COVID-19 surge.

Families who receive SNAP benefits or meet federal poverty guidelines, and with children ages 5 to 18, living in Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury, are eligible to apply.

The United Way of Greater Waterbury handles the application, screening and eligibility processes for the Campership Fund.

Donations are accepted year round as there is no down time for the program. Contributions may be sent to Greater Waterbury Campership Fund, 389 Meadow St., Waterbury, CT 06722.

Donations recently received for $52,664.23 included:
• Elsie R. Mannweiler Trust, Woodbury, $51,884.23
• Thomas and Patricia Pietrini, Southbury, in memory of Rachael Pietrini Kline, $500
• Anonymous, Bethlehem, in honor of Tommy Valuckas and his articles each week on Campership in The Sunday Republican, $200
• United Church of Christ, Southbury, $80