October Board Meeting

The LAJF board meeting took place on October 27th, 2018. In addition to board members participating in person or virtually, we were joined by thirteen guests representing the MAC, various alumni associations and SaveCRS. The next meeting is scheduled on Saturday, January 12th and we welcome your participation.

Honoring Volunteers

The board acknowledged the service of several volunteers who have provided distinguished assistance to LAJF over the years. Along with those rolling out of leadership positions, new volunteers have been appointed. Sean Campbell was appointed as assistant treasurer taking over for Cord Campbell (no relation). Michael Saraovsky was appointed chair of the Building and Grounds Committee transitioning from Tom Spurge. Camille Torres will serve as the chair of the Committee on Governance taking over for Nita Luis. Rene Pierpont was recognized as chair of Selection Policy Committee which will now fall under the Program Committee.


The summer meeting focused on the Camp Rising Sun program. The board met at the beginning of our new fiscal year and their focus for this meeting was on our fundraising efforts from the last fiscal year. LAJF is growing our capacity to fundraise. With adequate staffing, we have been able to raise more funds. With the help of an additional development team member, we were able to diversify our outreach to include non-alumni and outside grant makers, while also stewarding our current supporters. Our development team consists of one full time communications and development officer and a part time major gifts officer. In 2018, 21% of our donors increased their gifts, 15% more than doubled their gift and we had 331 new donors.

In fiscal year 2018, LAJF increased giving by more than $100,000, received a $13,000 grant, and endowment gift programs contributed $16,237 to camper scholarships. We also received $70,000 via Seth Frank from the Lurcy Foundation for the George E. Jonas college scholarship fund. Endowment gifts came from a variety of sources, including $63,000 from Rick and Nita Luis towards endowing a scholarship for campers from Minnesota. The interest of which can be used to cover the annual expenses of a camper. We also received an incredibly generous legacy gift from the estate of John Litsios. The gift came unrestricted from John’s family; however, we chose to put it into the portfolio as per our policy for bequests, so that it can live on and contribute to the ongoing needs of Camp.

Total gifts to LAJF totaled $878,718 which is nearly double that of 2012. Our largest donor base is in the New York metro area. LAJF is working with Mads Nissen, Director of Alumni Relations, on how to support the overseas associations in cultivation, fundraising, and alumni engagement. There is support from a healthy span of decades at Camp with a big jump in the 1990’s, which is  possibly attributed to the doubling of our camper body with the start of our second site in 1989.

Treasurer’s Update

At the end of our fiscal year, September 30th, 2018, total Foundation assets were 10.87M. If using the September 30th value, FYE 18 expenses, and annual fundraising, there was a 4.2% draw. The stock market is down overall; however, since the July board meeting, we reduced equity allocation which has reduced losses.

During the October meeting, fiscal year 2019 budget was presented and unanimously approved by the board. The budget is in line with the Strategic Plan and the overall 2019 budget expects only a 2% increase from the 2018 budget. At the meeting it was noted that there was a reduction to the Building and Grounds line item with the understanding that there be an extension in the number of years to allocate restoration funds. An important question was raised by a board member as well on whether we are budgeting enough to retain and maintain our staff team. To follow up on this the executive director will present at the April meeting a holistic staff retention strategy with budget numbers to be considered for the FY 2020 budget.

Other Committee and Council Updates

  • The Audit Advisory Committee had its first meeting this cycle and the audit schedule is set. One new member was added to committee thus far.

  • The Building and Grounds Committee reported that work will commence at Clinton to renovate the staff shower and locker room and estimates are being collected to budget for work in coming years. Work at Red Hook has been completed to the Old House porch and the ED Hall roof has been replaced. Ongoing work is occurring to maintain the landscape and control from pests.

  • The Health and Safety Committee shared that an active shooter plan was drafted last year and some additional alarms were installed in case of an intruder. The committee will further work to incorporate nutritional guidelines into the Health & Safety manual.

  • The Program Committee has met to review program evaluation, potential programs for schools to visit CRS and working on Camp options for the SPC.

  • The Strategic Planning Committee continues to work on and reflect on the Strategic Plan and is focusing on communicating the details with alumni.

  • Tim Conners reported on his Ad-hoc work on peace initiatives with disaffected alumni as motioned during the April 2018 board meeting. He continues to promote norms of communication and many alumni have committed to civil communication. Johnny Reinhardt has been appointed by Save CRS to be the official contact with LAJF. Helene had a positive experience with volunteers at Red Hook in October, which included several leaders of SaveCRS.