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JCC Association of North America Announces $3 Million Grant to Send 300 Children of Jewish Military Families to Summer Camp

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2022

CONTACT: Helen Chernikoff, West End Strategy Team
917-224-0382; [email protected]

JCC Association of North America Announces $3 Million Grant to Send 300 Children of Jewish Military Families to Summer Camp
First-of-its-kind grant to JWB Jewish Chaplains Council® will welcome military children into Jewish life at a summertime ‘home base’

NEW YORK — In a first-of-its-kind initiative, this week The Marcus Foundation and JCC Association of North America announced a new $3 million grant to send 300 children of active-duty Jewish military service members to Jewish overnight camp from the summer of 2023 to 2026 through JWB Jewish Chaplains Council® (JWB), the nation’s oldest organization serving Jewish military families.

“JCC Association is both proud and honored to partner with The Marcus Foundation, one of this country’s largest philanthropic supporters of military service personnel and veterans. As we work together to roll out the red carpet for children of Jewish service members, we bring to bear our movement’s 24 overnight camps, the largest such network in North America.” said Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association. Rabbi Irv Elson, a vice president of JCC Association and director of JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, said, “JWB takes great pride in bringing the joys and positive attributes of Jewish summer camp into the lives of Jewish families whose members serve and protect this country with distinction and devotion on military bases and installations worldwide.”

Families grappling with the unpredictability, financial stress, and geographic isolation of military life might struggle to offer the experience of overnight camp to their children — or they might not even know about it. Yet the children of the 10,000 active-duty Jews in the military are a population that both needs and deserves the camp experience, precisely because their parents are making such sacrifices to serve this country. Especially for these children, who are uprooted often and whose communities may not include many other Jews, Jewish summer camp offers many benefits: a “home base” to which they can return each summer; year-round engagement opportunities and points of connection for them and their families; lifelong friendships that transcend time and geography; and a proven way to build and strengthen Jewish identity and inspire a lifelong commitment to Jewish life.

“We owe so much to our brave men and women of the military who work tirelessly to defend our country’s liberty and security. I am thrilled that we can help bring Jewish children of military parents to Jewish summer camp,” said Bernie Marcus, chairman of The Marcus Foundation. “The impact of these experiences will touch their lives forever, positively impact the entire family unit, and promote their connectedness to the Jewish community. We are delighted that JCCs around the country, with their unique access to Jewish military service members, will steward this life-changing program.”

The grant will be structured to cover the cost of fees for up to four weeks at a camp affiliated with the JCC Movement for up to three consecutive summers. JCC Association is convening members of its camp network so they can learn more about how to participate in this groundbreaking initiative to support Jewish military families. Awards will be given to eligible children, mostly rising fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, who have at least one parent either discharged from the U.S. armed services in the last three years or are on active duty.

JWB, founded in 1917 on the cusp of World War I, the Jewish Welfare Board, as it was known at the time, sought to serve young Jewish men entering the military. Today, JWB, a signature program of JCC Association, among its multiple endeavors, fosters and promotes meaningful Jewish life for Jewish military personnel, their families, and veterans. This initiative represents one of the first efforts to enhance connections between the JCC Movement and JWB constituents.


About JCC Association of North America

JCC Association of North America leads the JCC Movement, which includes more than 170 Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Community Camps (JCCs) and is the most expansive platform for Jewish life in the U.S. and Canada. With approximately 12,000 full-time, 24,000 part-time, and 17,000 seasonal professionals, the movement also is the largest employer on North America’s Jewish communal landscape. For more than a century, JCC Association has valued and nurtured the growth of these professionals, along with the movement’s 3,000+ lay leaders, providing them all with a breadth and depth of offerings to help them meet the evolving needs of the 1.5 million weekly in-person and online visitors they serve, including individuals, families, communal groups, and others. By virtue of its size and scope and guided and supported by JCC Association, the JCC Movement dynamically influences efforts to create Jewish community, vibrant Jewish life, and intentional and measurable Jewish outcomes—in local communities and across the continent. Learn more at or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Please note that JCC Association of North America should not be referred to as JCCA or the JCC Association but initially as JCC Association of North America and as JCC Association in subsequent references.

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