Why I Give: Helene Mattera

By: Helene Mattera, Executive Director

Twenty years ago my life was changed by Camp Rising Sun. Since then I have shown my gratitude by working as a counselor, volunteering at Camp, serving on committees and leading the Foundation. I also demonstrate my appreciation by donating to the annual fund. After high school, I started by giving $20 and then after college, $200. I clearly remember writing a check for $1,000 in 2009 - the year that Camp was closed - when I was just 29 working at a community center in the Bronx. In my lifetime, I have contributed more than $15,000 to the organization and it remains one of my top philanthropic priorities.

I give because each day I live a life which would not have been possible without the trajectory-altering experience of CRS.

Camp Rising Sun is about more than a fun time in the woods, hanging out in the camper’s lounge, or making new friends (though of course, it’s about those things too!) It’s about transcending the cultural barriers that divide us to create a microcosm of a better world. It’s about fostering coexistence among people of different nationalities, races, and religions. It’s about taking kids who differ in cultural background and socioeconomic status to find out what makes them similar and what they have to learn from one another.

Leading and serving the community we had built together made me excited for the future, just as I am now excited to provide an opportunity for future campers to create long-lasting memories of their own. The camp has a powerful, meaningful legacy to the people whose lives it has touched, and it’s important to all of us to do whatever we can to maintain that legacy.

Every day I work at Louis August Jonas Foundation, I dedicate myself to preserving Camp Rising Sun so that future campers can have an experience as memorable and profound as my own. That’s why we need you to support our mission of bringing promising kids together from around the world to develop leadership skills and bring lasting change to their communities.