Board Update: Spring 2019

On April 13, 2019 the Louis August Jonas Foundation Board had a meeting in New York City. The Board meeting focused on LAJF’s Alumni Engagement and committee updates.

The meeting opened with the remarks of the President, Tim Conners.

“First a hearty welcome to our new Board members!  Welcome, Cindy Abramson, Kathleen Stringer, and Christina Busso. We thank them all for their willingness to help our community move forward!”

Tim Conners focused on a few concepts to ensure LAJF’s growth.  LAJF only has to continue the building of momentum that is already underway. Whether it be program, facilities, fundraising, or alumni engagement, there is progress as we march towards sustainability.  LAJF has experienced a great deal of change since our Founder started Camp Rising Sun. That change is anchored in the transition from one omnipresent leader of LAJF to a group of many that fill the role of leading and sustaining our organization and our community. This transition is paramount to ensure LAJF thrives. Today the CRS community is neither the product of nor the responsibility of any single individual.  Every step the members of our community become more engaged is a step closer towards sustainability!

Tim touched on where we currently are as an organization. “We continue to deliver and improve a relevant and robust program! We continue to catch up on deferred maintenance on the Clinton Campus.  In the face of mother nature who has a reputation of whittling away at rocks (and most recently precipitating fires in the Kibowan), we not only continue to care for our Red Hook campus, we continue to expand upon its use! In fundraising, we continue to build momentum. Note that our primary goal in the strategic plan is “sustainability” and it remains aspirational.  Although we are “on plan”, we have but two and a half more years to reach the aspirational sustainability goal! In regards to alumni engagement, I am quite impressed by the progress we have made, I remain convinced that focus on alumni engagement is a critical and keynote topic to our sustainability.”

Election of Officers and Presidential Appointment of Committee Chairs:

Tim Wong turned over leadership of the Finance and Investment Committee to Assistant Chair, Sean Campbell who was elected as the Treasurer of the Board. Tony Bonilla was elected Vice President.

Foundation Report on Alumni Engagement:

The Louis August Jonas Foundation’s Director of Alumni Affairs, Mads Nissen, presented an update on the Foundation’s alumni engagement. LAJF has a total of 6,346 alumni in our database, and of those 5,970 alumni are believed to be living. Of those living alumni, 67% attended Red Hook, 27% Clinton and 6% Stendis.  Of all alumni, 20% live in New York, 35% in other US states and 45% are International.


There are 31 regions globally with some level of associated alumni. We believe that 77% of alumni live in an area where there is an official alumni association and 23% live where there is no organized association.  We aim to increase participation and engagement in volunteering and fundraising. The total amount raised last year from alumni was the highest it has been. This seems to indicate that our donors are supportive and that a focus on getting more people to participate in fundraising should be a goal for alumni engagement.

A wonderful way you can engage now is to join us at Camp for Volunteer Weekend, May 18-19. Volunteer Weekend is an opportunity to relive your time at Camp by working on projects that help get Camp ready for campers' arrival. Be a part in making this year’s camper’s experience as special as it was for you. Camp's new lean-to is coming this Volunteer Weekend. You can donate now to leave your mark on Camp by helping us build Camp’s new lean-to.


Of the 5,970 alumni, we do not have any email information for ~1,900 (30%). We have approximately 280 frequent readers who have opened the last three newsletters, with the highest read level in the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and the UK. You can update your contact information by signing in or registering here. A challenge that many other groups and institutions like ours face is the negative public discourse within some alumni Facebook groups. Many discussions on social media are negative, with diverging opinions. We have received feedback from alumni that these type of discussions are deterring some alumni to not be engaged, but watch from the sidelines. Possible solutions - or steps in the right directions - were discussed such as establishing communication norms for alumni dialogue. Other feedback received is that the negative discourse in the chatgroups is not indicative of the positive energy and conversations happening within alumni associations and in person gatherings. The LAJF staff continue to prioritize meeting alumni face to face, including traveling to alumni association events when convenient. We hope to you stay connected, encourage your campmates to reengage, and that we will see you soon. To join an Alumni Association near you check out our global list of current Alumni Associations.


We are working to stay in close touch with young alumni through the CRS College Student Network and a class leader initiative. Please, Save the Date for Virtual College Week that is happening May 20th - 24th. This year we are featuring programs that share our values of international exchange. Alumni should also contact us when they have an internship, job and career opportunity to share. We are diligently working to improve data protocol and get more accurate contact information for alumni. We are segmenting our communications to assure we reach different age groups and relaunched an effort to send hard copy mailings to those who do not have a registered email address. We have volunteers working in the office to do person-to-person outreach to re-engage alumni and update contact information.

A general call for all alumni to ensure that we have their updated email addresses on file was made - please update your contact information at, or by sending an email with your updated contact info to

Committee and Council Updates

The Building & Grounds committee has supervised the completion of several projects at the Clinton Campus. The Main Building bathroom has been renovated, several areas have been painted, and much more. We are continuing the process of replacing the tent-platforms with lean to’s. Thank you to everyone who has helped LAJF in fundraising and building our new lean to’s.

Committee on Governance submitted three new board members and three renewals.

The Program Committee is working on edits for the curriculum to better represent the program. We have added to the curriculum a section on the influence of Native American traditions on the Camp program. The dates for this years visit team are July 13th and 14th August 10th and 11th- the team is looking for volunteers! If you are interested in learning more contact us.

Strategic Planning: Tim Wong, as President Elect, will be the leader of the SPC moving forward.

Save the Date: The next board meeting will be on Sunday, July 21st followed by a board retreat to Tuesday, July 23rd.