Why I Give, by John Mattera '94


In the Spring you may have noticed the campaign led by the NYAA…We raised more than $50,000 in about one week’s time. I gave $5,000 which was a much larger gift than I’ve ever given to any organization. Why now? I have remained involved with Camp, however, only recently did I begin to understand the magnitude of Camp's financial situation. Camp has an amazing tradition of providing amazing campers with an amazing program... for free. And while the experience may have been magical, it was money, not magic, that made it happen.

I decided I wanted to do something to help. I contacted the Foundation and said that I wanted to give $5,000 but that I wanted my donation to encourage others to give. That inspired the NYAA President (who also happens to be my sister) to also pledge $5,000. She then contacted other NYAA members to join us in providing $5,000 matching gifts. Before we knew it, we had $25,000 in matching funds. Then we contacted the 2,000 New York alumni to help us get to each matching level.

The good news is that more alumni are giving now more than ever. At this critical juncture in the life of our organization we must look at our own capacity to help. Look at your situation at this time, think about the investment camp made in you. How have your career, family and friends been impacted by your experience at CRS? What is that worth to you? And what is it worth to you to give that opportunity to the next generation? 

Some alumni have said, “no one ever asked me to give.” Well, I’m asking you now. Please make a donation. Camp will be sustained if we invest in the future of our organization

Donate to Camp here.

Sarah Uttermann-Merritt '02, '03, '12 – '15


Sarah Uttermann-Merritt '02, '03, '12 - '15 has been a #GivingTuesday leader for CRS since 2013. She wrote the following message about #GivingTuesday 2015:

This Tuesday is Giving Tuesday, and you know what that means... I am trying to raise money for a charity I love.

I spent my sixth summer at Camp Rising Sun this year, and my fourth summer as a counselor. Camp is the best gift I've ever been given, and I'd like it if bright, caring teenagers from around the world could continue to spend a life-changing summer at CRS next year and for many years to come. So, I'm putting my money where my mouth is and using my entire salary from my four weeks at camp this summer-- $1,500-- to match your donations for the CRS 2016 season. This means if I raise $1,500 for camp, I will donate another $1,500.

UPDATE (at 10pm California time):

WOW! At midday today I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to meet my goal. However, thanks to Christina my little campaign has now been publicized to the whole alumni community! Thanks to your help, with my matching donation we have SMASHED through my goal! A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all the donors I have never met-- please let me know when you're in San Francisco and we'll get tea! Thank you thank you thank you! 

P.S. Anyone want to match the rest?

We're honored by Sarah's generosity and so proud of her hard work. This year, she raised over $3,700 dollars (and counting!) for her campaign. For the past four years, she took time off from her job as a data analyst in San Francisco to work at Camp Rising Sun. She is also project leader of the CRS Alumni Forum, heads selection in California, and serves on the Alumni Relations Committee. Sarah contributes so much to the CRS community.

She has also inspired others to follow in her footsteps. Sandesh Shettar '06 has started a campaign to match $1,000 (and raise $2,000). 

Sarah's determination, hard work, expertise, and dedication have benefited us through the years, and we're so thankful for her time and effort.

Has Sarah inspired YOU to take action? Here's how to get involved:

Marlene Losier '94 speaks about Rick Richter

Rick has been a friend of CRS and a friend to many alumni since his first year at Camp in 1950. Marlene Losier '94 wrote about her relationship with Rick, shared below.

Rick Richter has been my friend for 21 of my 35 years.  He has also been my mentor and has shown me the value of intergenerational friendships, paying it forward and the commitment it takes to nourish and do one's part in fostering an institution from which we have benefited so much so that it can continue to serve others.  Rick and I met at Clinton Corners in July 1994 when he gave an instruction about the college application process.  I took notes from his instruction on a scrap piece of thin cardboard that I periodically looked at throughout high school and that I used as an "instructional manual" when it was time to apply for college the fall of my senior year.  Rick walked me through the process and wrote letters of recommendation for me to the 11 undergraduate schools to which I applied, all the law schools, the LLM program, and then the PhD program I am completing now.  I still have that piece of cardboard.  It is an important reminder for me of how the path to accomplishing goals can start.  Without Rick, my academic and professional life would not be quite like what it is today, or perhaps for the hundreds of other students, he has also helped along the way.

After my summer at CRS, Rick called me every single year for my birthday.  We talked, and he showed me what it meant for a mentor to be interested in what you were doing and to be willing to help in any way he could to help foster your goals.  Our friendship grew to include my younger brother and our trips to Albany to see him, and then to include my husband and our trips to Sleepy Hollow to see him, and now to include each of my, soon-to-be-five, children - all of whom he has always welcomed over a meal.  After leaving home for college, wherever I was, I always found a way to visit Rick, whether from Boston, Houston, Washington D.C., Florence, Italy or across the bridge in the Hudson Valley.  From Rick I learned so much about friendship and especially the value of intergenerational friendships, which I learned to re-create with others in my life.

Rick has also taught me the importance of dedication and commitment to a larger institution. Other than the handful of friends from Camp with whom I still keep in regular touch, Rick has been what has anchored me to the Louis August Jonas Foundation.  Without my relationship with Rick, I do not know if I would have felt such a tie to an institution that has given me so much, or would have felt a sense of devotion and loyalty to want to give back, like he has, throughout the course of my lifetime.  

I am truly blessed to have a friend like Rick.  For his friendship, I will forever be grateful.  I invite you to join me in honoring Rick Richter on his 85th Birthday.

To support CRS in honor of Rick and read Rick's brand new "History of Camp Rising Sun 1929-2015," click here.