Greater Waterbury Campership Fund: Gifts roll in after Monteiro Challenge

WATERBURY — In a week’s time, generous donors rallied for this year’s fundraising challenge to the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund.

Frank and Sandy Monteiro of Prospect offered their annual Monteiro Challenge, to match $5,000 raised in three weeks, starting March 14. As of Friday, the couple already knows they’ll have to pay up to help send local children to camp this summer.

The Monteiros, including their son Anthony, put out the call that if Campership Fund supporters could raise $5,000 for the cause between March 14 and the end of the month, they would personally donate $5,000 more.

Additionally, Drew International and Drew Marine, of Naugatuck and Waterbury, where Frank J. Monteiro is president and chief executive officer, would kick in another $5,000 if supporters met the challenge.

The public response was quick and hearty: $6,240 was contributed in a matter of days, with almost two weeks still left in the challenge.

“It’s very, very exciting,” said Frank J. Monteiro. “It’s great to see the community stepping forward to meet the challenge.”

Frank J. Monteiro during the filming of promotional videos about this year’s Monteiro Campership challenge, at Drew Marine studios in Naugatuck. Anne Karolyi/Republican-American

With many individual donations still promised and en route to ensure the challenge is met, a big reason for the record challenge pace was timing: Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation donated $2,500, the result of the nonprofit Campership Fund applying to the foundation’s annual community grants program.

“That generous grant from Thomaston Savings Bank ensured that we met our challenge,” said Anne Karolyi, managing editor of the Republican-American and Sunday Republican. “The challenge donations still promised from individuals prove one of the best things about Campership, that a lot of smaller gifts make a huge impact in local children’s lives.”

“We’d love to see the collective $15,000 raised by the Monteiro Challenge effort reach $20,000, so even more kids can benefit this summer. This year, it’s a wonderful sign of life inching toward a more-normal, post-COVID future, a symbolic step foward,” Karolyi said.

SAID FRANK J. MONTEIRO of the response: “This testifies that we have a community that really cares, it’s an important nonprofit and they can see the good that it does for the kids. Hopefully they will continue to respond.”

“I look forward to bringing in those checks,” Monteiro said.

Sandy Monteiro is on the volunteer Campership Fund board of directors, who like all supporters of the program are optimistically hopeful this year’s summer camping season will be far less constricted by COVID-19 and health concerns.

Tuition costs for the 64 eligible children who attended camp in 2020 were $34,386. The year before, 434 youngsters went off to camps throughout the state at a cost of $157,457. Some recent years, the number of eligible applicants as hit 499, and volunteers at The United Way of Greater Waterbury, who screen applicants for eligibility and coordinate communication between the Campership Fund and the camps, predict the potential for greater need because of families hard hit by the pandemic.

Contributions for the fledgling campaign have hit the $67,384 mark.

Campership Fund application information has started to make its way to school districts and community partners and agencies within the 10-community United Way service area, as well as to the 2-1-1 Info Line.

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 all-volunteer Campership Fund board established a target goal of $160,000 for 2021. No matter how this year’s campaign fares, however, there already is $250,000 in the Next 50 auxiliary fund to draw upon as backup.

NEXT 50 WAS CREATED by the board in 2019, the 50th anniversary year of the Campership Fund. Its revenue only can be applied toward tuition in case funding comes up short for any particular future camping season.

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

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

Donations amounting to $8,560, including $6,240 applied to the Monteiro Challenge, recently were received from:

Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation, Thomaston, $2,500

Thomaston Savings Bank, Thomaston, from the Denim Days for the Community Initiative, $2,040

Peter Baker and Josette Caporale, Southbury, in honor of Sandy Monteiro’s 50th birthday, $500

Jeannine Laliberte, Oakville, $400

Joe and Debra Gugliotti, Wolcott, in honor of Sandy Monteiro’s 50th birthday, $250

Mr. Theodore Jewell and Ms. Nancy O’Brien, Watertown, in memory of Mr. Pape for his support of the Campership Fund, $250

Joel and Nancy Becker, Wolcott, $250

Cherrie Gillis, Waterbury, $250

Forrest and Susan Hartson, Southbury, $200

Joe and Rosemary Gurga, Southington, in memory of Alfred Mancinone, $150

Louise Pelletier, Watertown, in memory of the Rev. Dr. John Pelletier, $100

Richard Benfer, Thomaston, in memory of Lois Benfer, $100

Joseph and Margaret Sheehan, Watertown, in memory of Ann Charbonneau, $100

Ann McGurk, Litchfield, with fond memories of our camping trips, $100

Richard and Carol Gagnon, Waterbury, $100

Henry and Susan Kustosz, New Milford, $100

James Nardozzi, Waterbury, in memory of Susan K. Nardozzi, $100

Judith Ball, Wolcott, in memory of Forrest Ball, $100

Ronald and Janice Pugliese, Southbury, in honor of Frank and Sandy Monteiro, $100

John and Velma McKenna, Watertown, in memory of Rosalie Piller, $100

Peter Merriman, Prospect, $100

Rita Spinella, Thomaston, in memory of my husband, Joseph R. Spinella and my daughter, Michelle Spinella, $100

Dr. Mark and Karen Carlson, Bridgewater, $100

Rosemary Briglia, Middlebury, $100

Donald and Debbie Douty, Naugatuck, $100

Sandra Broden, Watertown, in honor of the life of Anne Hlavna, $50

Ronald and Helen Jurzyk Sr., Wolcott, in memory of Ruth-Ellen Summa, $50

Armand and Cynthia Solomita, Waterbury, in loving memory of our families, $50

Sal and Tina Agati, Watertown, in memory of Ann Charbonneau, $50

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Ladies Philoptochos Society, Waterbury, $50

Cyber Grants, $20