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Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

By: Gabe Neistein, Chief Advancement Officer

One of my favorite days at camp is music lunch. The Chadar Ochel (dining hall) is alive with campers and counselors dancing and singing; plates of grilled cheese and tomato soup are rattling to the beat. You would never know by watching the face-to-face scream-singing, arm-in-arm dancing, and absolute euphoria that camp began less than two weeks ago, and many of our kids met for the first time or are enjoying their first camp experience. 

Whether forged at music lunch, on a travel trip or outpost experience, or at Havdalah – today or in the past – Tamarack provides all of us with a sense of community where we can be part of something bigger than ourselves. If you’re an alum, a parent, a grandparent, or someone who believes in a Jewish camp experience, we are all bonded by a five-generation Tamarack experience that promotes Jewish identity and values, fosters independence and confidence, and instills a love for Israel—all in an inclusive and nurturing environment. 

As we look to the future, I am motivated daily by a shared responsibility to advance Tamarack’s values and mission for this generation and those to come. We all have a role to play in building a “culture of philanthropy,” where everyone within our camp community – from our board and staff to intergenerational alumni, campers, and other stakeholders – embraces an environment of giving – of both time and dollars – and recognizes it as critical to our agency’s health now and in the future. 

Here are some proud examples of this culture in action:

  • Each year our CAMPaign For Change initiative reinforces the Jewish values and tradition of tzedakah by teaching the joy of sharing, volunteering, and giving back. Last month, we shared Jordyn Pinchuk’s Bat Mitzvah project selling camper postcards for the summer, which has raised almost $2,000 to support our Send a Kid to Tamarack campaign. This week, we also received an extraordinary contribution from the Brauntach, Ferrari, and Boyman Harris families, whose kids held an impromptu lemonade stand in their neighborhood in Rye Brook, New York. All of these funds benefit camp!
  • During pre-camp training, our advancement team met with this year’s camp supervisors and senior leadership. We shared our intertwined role of promoting a culture of philanthropy to their staff and campers, as well as for community members visiting throughout the summer. Through their leadership, campers will be writing thank-you notes to our generous donor community.
  • Our alumni committee and other community leaders are hard at work organizing two alumni reunions this summer: the Agree Reunion and Alumni Shabbat events.

These are just a few of many examples that show the strength of our camp community. We invite you to partner with us this summer and in the year ahead — lend your voice and expertise as part of one of our committees, host a prospective camper meeting, or participate in an upcoming event. Together, we can continue to make a meaningful difference and share in the responsibility of keeping our campers dancing and singing – now and in the future.

Join our generous camp community today by contacting me, Gabe Neistein, at