At our 2016 reunion in New York, we announced the launch of our first-ever capital campaign. We set an audacious goal: to raise $500,000 in five years, so that we could build an endowment to fund four full-summer scholarships to Winnebago in perpetuity.
That night, our president, Jim Astrove, kicked off the campaign with a personal pledge of $50,000. His enthusiasm and generosity spread quickly, and Winnebagans of all generations responded to the call. We now have just under $100,000 in our endowment fund, with another $30,000 pledged.
That total puts us around one-quarter of our goal, which means that we are lagging behind our five-year target. To get back on track, we need another $70,000 in pledges and donations before our reunion next April.
While these numbers may seem large, every dollar pledged is meaningful. This is truly a group effort. As one example, $25,000 of our endowment represents the collective donations of the amazing 1981 Senior Lodge.Nine members of that lodge have contributed so far, with more surely to come.
The capital campaign represents a major evolution for the WAA. For years, we consistently ran a deficit and had annual discussions about the viability of our scholarship program. Now, the endowment fund will give us stability and the knowledge that we’ll never have to stop sponsoring scholarship boys.
But even more than that, the capital campaign is a sign that the WAA and the scholarship program are integral, undying parts of the Winnebago family. “In perpetuity” is not just a turn of phrase—the money given now will be a permanent gift whose interest and dividends will keep making sure that camp is a diverse, inclusive community for every generation to come.
Making a gift to the scholarship-fund endowment is as simple as writing “Capital Campaign” on the memo line of your check or in the comments section of your online donation. Please feel free to contact our treasurer, Ethan Ris, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about the campaign.