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Wednesday's Whim

Wednesday’s Whim: Charitable Giving

2013 saw the “largest year-over-year increase in charitable giving  since the Great Recession.”  Wow!  That’s an impressive statistic, and one that Camp Stevens can personally attest to.  Thanks to the generosity of many, many donors, grantors, and donor organizations, we ended last year in good financial standing and were ready to hit the ground running in 2014.  (See infographic here.)

During the Episcopal Camps and Conference Center‘s Annual Conference in January, I had the opportunity to listen to and learn from Mr. Jamie Coats from the Society of St. John the Evangelist.  He compared the “economy of transaction” with the “economy of gift” as a way to change our mindset about the ways we reach out to others, live in relationship, and raise funds for our organizations.  The Brothers live in an “economy of gift,” where kindness, hospitality, and beauty rule.  I’ve been thinking about how Camp Stevens does and could even more live into an economy of gift (in giving and receiving) and, as far as I can tell so far, it has to do with sacrifice, trust, gratitude, and grace.  And saying thank you a whole lot.

We’ve set the bar high this year.  In addition to learning to live in an economy of gift, here are a few exciting opportunities coming down the line:

  • The Campership Fund hopes to bring as many or more campers to the mountains and meadows at Camp Stevens this year as last summer.  One hundred and sixty-one children attended because of this fund in 2013 and a total of over $87,000 was donated.  A week at camp costs $625 – that’s just over $100 a day.  More information on giving opportunities next month, or visit our website to give today!

Summer_Camp2013 (2)

  • Our Annual Friends Fund supports operating expenses.  It’s less sexy to most than the Campership Fund, but no less important!  It provides for the farms and garden, staff, water systems, ropes and outdoor education programs, office needs, and a whole lot more.  Combined, the Annual and Campership Fund make up about one-fifth of Camp Steven’s annual $1M budget!  Generosity is crucial to our existence!


  • For the last few weeks, a handful of Board members and I have been interviewing candidates to consult us through a capital campaign that has got me giddy with excitement.  We’re hoping to do a Camp Kitchen renovation and add a new staff house as well as raise additional money needed to build the Bergstrom Lodge and three cabins (to replace the old Lax-Sadler Lodge and two cabins that burned in the 2007 fire).  Add to that the need for a deferred maintenance endowment and we’ve got ourselves a capital campaign!

Bergstrom Cropped

You’ll hear more about all of these projects in the next few months, and I hope you’ll contribute to the conversation as we plan for the future of Camp Stevens!

And then life happens and the well dries up.  Well, not yet exactly, but we have learned in the last couple weeks that we’ll need a new well drilled at Camp to stay hydrated, maintain fire reduction plans, water the farm and gardens, take showers, and swim!  This is a major expense and one that we were not anticipating, so please keep your ears and eyes open for ways you can help with that project.

Thanks always for your ideas and comments – about the economy of transaction versus gift, fundraising in general, or any of the specific needs listed here!


Whim: “sudden idea.” This weekly-ish post promises a number of things: personal thoughts and reflections, showing off Camp Stevens’ programs and staff, announcements for upcoming opportunities, and answering questions or responding to comments “from the audience.” If you have a topic or question you’d like addressed, just e-mail Beth!


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