Sustainability Fund FAQ

All Together Now 2021 logo

NEW! Give $2, Donors Add $1 More!

Thanks to JCamp180, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and leading Jewish funders, All Together Now 2021 will match your gift. Your combined gifts of $535,000 will secure nearly $300,000 more. Every gift by January 7, 2022 is eligible, with a $10,000-per-camp bonus for success by October 8!

Make Your Gift    See the Donor Honor Roll

Frequently Asked Questions

You are camp’s partner, and we are committed to opening up with much more detail about camp finances than ever before. Many of you have asked complex questions. One of the positive results of this summer’s challenges is that the camp leadership teams have gotten a chance to talk with so many more people about the business side of camp; you’ve pushed us to “pull back the curtain” in new ways, and we appreciate the opportunity.

 About Giving 

How do I give by check?
Mailing a donation? Thank you!
Please make your check payable to your camp’s name OR to “The Cohen Camps” if you’d like your gift to sustain all three camps.

Please mail it to:

Barbara Stevens, Development Director
The Cohen Camps
888 Worcester Street, Suite 350
Wellesley, MA 02482


How do I use appreciated stock?
Camp gratefully accepts donations of stock and securities!

Donating appreciated stock is easy and can come with financial or tax advantages, as well as allow you to make a gift with a larger impact, at lower cost to you. Please consult your financial planner or tax advisor to learn how these advantages may apply to your circumstances.

Step 1:

Direct your broker to transfer the stock electronically to:
DTC #0062
Receiving DTC Brokerage Firm: Vanguard

  • For Camp Pembroke or the Cohen Camps overall, specify:
    Account Name: Eli and Bessie Cohen Camps of Massachusetts, Inc.
    Account Number: 27312643
  • For Camp Tel Noar or Camp Tevya, specify:
    Account Name: Eli and Bessie Cohen Camps
    Account Number: 63399999

Step 2:

Let us know!
So we may confirm the transfer and provide you with an appropriate donation receipt, please notify us of your gift by contacting the Cohen Camps Development Office at or by calling 781.489.2070.

Please include:

  • Name of securities
  • Number of shares you are transferring
  • Brokerage house / accounting firm and contact name
  • Your name, phone number and e-mail address
  • How you would like to be listed in the Donor Honor Roll
  • Which camp you would like to benefit, or whether your gift should support the Cohen Camps overall (going to all three camps equally)


How do I give through my Donor Advised Fund?
Camp welcomes gifts from Donor-Advised Funds (DAF)! A DAF is a philanthropic giving vehicle that provides an immediate tax benefit to you, and allows you to grant funds to charities of your choice. You can give in two ways:

  • Recommend a DAF through your financial institution or foundation
  • Contact your fund manager to make your recommendation

Step 1:

  • For Camp Pembroke or the Cohen Camps overall, recommend supporting:
    Eli and Bessie Cohen Camps of Massachusetts, Inc., with Tax ID 04-6003680
  • For Camp Tel Noar or Camp Tevya, recommend supporting:
    Eli and Bessie Cohen Camps, with Tax ID 04-6152862

For both please provide the year-round mailing address:
The Cohen Camps
888 Worcester Street, Suite 350
Wellesley, MA 02482

The grant will arrive at The Cohen Camps with only the fund’s name and address on it, unless you request otherwise. Please be sure to request for your name and address to be included as well as the name of your preferred camp(s).

Step 2:

Let us know!
So we may confirm the gift and thank you for your generosity, please inform us of your gift by contacting the Cohen Camps Development Office at or by calling 781.489.2070.

Please include:

  • Name of your Donor Advised Fund
  • Brokerage house / accounting firm and contact name
  • Your name, phone number and e-mail address
  • How you would like to be listed in the Donor Honor Roll
  • Which camp you would like to benefit, or whether your gift should support the Cohen Camps overall (going to all three camps equally)


Is my gift eligible for a match?
Yes! Thanks to All Together Now 2021, donors will give $1 for every $2 you donate by January 7, 2022. PLUS a $10,000-per-camp bonus awaits each camp that hits its target early. With $535,000 in donations by October 8, All Together Now 2021 will contribute nearly $300,000 more. Every financial donation is eligible.

If your employer will match your charitable giving, please contact the administrators in your workplace to activate that gift. All Together Now 2021 will match those donations, too!

Interested in starting a challenge match? Please email Barbara, Development Director, or call her at 781.489.2070.


Is my gift tax-deductible?
Yes! The Cohen Camps are nonprofits.


May I invite my friends and family?
Yes, please! Share your passion for camp on social media. If you’d like to dedicate your birthday, bar/bat mitzvah, wedding, or other special occasion to camp, learn more about setting up a Mitzvah Project fundraiser. Thank you!

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Create a Mitzvah Project


 About the Need 

What's the need?
Camp has weathered many challenges over the years, but none as financially devastating as this one. Making sure camp is ready, strong and available for campers in 2021, 2022, and future generations will take everyone’s help and partnership. This is not a “regular” fundraising campaign. This is a matter of nonprofit survival.

Preparing for camp is a year-round effort. 40% of costs (facilities, repairs, insurance, payroll, hiring, etc.) come due before any camper enters a bunk. The Cohen Camps invested more than $3 million preparing for 2020. A strong future is on the other side of that gap.
Making the decision not to open camp in 2020 was the right thing to do. Caring for each other in this complicated time is how we live the Cohen Camps’ values. We also suspended our usual tuition policies and offered anyone who wanted it a full tuition refund. Many families generously contributed their tuition to offset some of what had been spent to prepare for their camper’s arrival. (See below for “What did 2020 families choose to do with their tuition paid?“)
Families who converted their tuition to a donation and donors who are helping to shore up the difference: you are opening up the future for children and teens at camp.  Thank you.
What's been raised so far?
Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin$3,000,000Raised $2,331,886 towards the $3,000,000 target.$2,331,886$1,000,000$2,000,000Raised $2,331,886 towards the $3,000,000 target.78%
To date:
You’ve raised $2,331,886 toward the camps’ $3,000,000 gap.
Together we’re 78% of the way there!

We are deeply grateful to each person and family who has committed so generously to making sure Camps Pembroke, Tel Noar and Tevya survive this pandemic for campers in the coming summer and in many years to come. There are 2,000+ of you on the Donor Honor Roll, including hundreds giving for the very first time!

We are also endlessly appreciative of the alumni making phone calls and the and alum fundraising committees setting up fundraisers to engage even more people in this cause. Thank you all!!!

The Cohen Camps are fortunate to have secured some SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds for our year-round staff. The $3 million gap represents costs beyond what those funds could cover.


How can the camps be facing a $3 million deficit? That's a lot!
You’re right. Preparing for camp is a year-round effort. 40% of costs (facilities, repairs, insurance, payroll, hiring, etc.) are spent before any camper enters a bunk.

Because we operate as a three-camp family, we share some operational efficiencies. Even so, nine months of preparations and 12 months of fixed costs come to more than $1 million per camp, or more than $3 million for the Cohen Camps together.

For an overview of how the annual Cohen Camps budget worked, pre-Covid, please take a look at these pie charts.


With camp closed, costs ceased, right?
Some seasonal costs remained (see above). Also, at no cost to 2020 families, we provided:

  • Dozens of virtual programs, bunk hangouts, and electives for campers, launched this spring and intensified this summer.
  • The 5-week online Kadima (redesigned CIT/CAT/CA) leadership training program. 75 teens took part! We developed a curriculum and ran four hour-long sessions (one together + one per camp) each week to support teens and nurture the next generation of great counselors.


Is 'survival' really an issue?

We wish it were an exaggeration, but it’s not. Tuition pays for the “summer” but it’s really paying for work that begins in September for the following July.

Making the decision to suspend all our usual tuition policies and offer a full tuition refund option was the right thing to do. Caring for each other in this complicated time is how we live the Cohen Camps’ values. Yet how do you refund $3 million already spent? You take it out of your own pocket. The camps are nonprofits; $3 million is beyond our resources.

Many camps and nonprofits are in this situation. You are undoubtedly hearing from many. Some will not survive. With everyone’s help, we hope that the Pembroke, Tel Noar and Tevya communities will come through stronger and more connected than ever, so we can continue for many more years.


What other steps are the camps taking to regain financial footing?
  1. Federal SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds: We applied for and received a loan which allowed us to maintain payroll until June 30, 2020. Having this staff on hand was essential for processing tuition refunds, rollovers, and donations as well as launching virtual programming. The $3 million gap is after we figure in the PPP funds.
  2. Staff furloughs: Of our small year-round staff, 1/3 were off for the summer until October 2020.
  3. Salary and hours cuts: All staff who remained—2-3 per camp and the fundraising and business staff—took pay cuts.
  4. Capital expense deferrals: All non-essential facility costs remain on hold.
  5. Other expense deferrals: We negotiated a temporary rent reduction on our year-round office, and favorable terms with our lender, so that we may defer some costs until cash flow allows.
  6. Limited Spring/Summer 2020 programming budgets: Because we offered all our virtual programs for campers and teens at no cost, we kept related spending very low.


Why is cash flow such an issue?

97% of camp’s annual income is from tuition.
3% comes from donations.
100% of annual income gets spent on the camper experience.

Any operating surplus gets invested back into camp, and sometimes there’s a deficit. We’re always operating on a thin margin, like most independent nonprofit camps.


What did 2020 families choose to do with their tuition paid?

Back in March 2020, to support families, we postponed the tuition payment deadline. By May, about $2 million in tuition (25% of total) remained outstanding. Families got to choose what to do with what they had paid.

We appreciate every family and each choice they made. Overall they:

  • Donated 9% ($542,000+) of tuition paid, for which we are so grateful. This covers about 1/6 of our operating deficit for Summer 2020. 46% of families chose to donate some or all of their tuition.
  • Rolled over 30% ($2+ million) of tuition paid toward campers’ 2021 enrollment. This helps with cash flow now, although it reduces income ahead. 42% of families chose to rollover some or all of their tuition.
  • Requested 60% ($3.7 million) back as refunds.


Do the camps have a rainy day fund?

Yes, over the years we’ve built up about $3.2 million in reserves. We tap these funds for building improvements like the cabin renovations we began a few summers ago and for bigger building repairs. Having such a fund puts us in a better position than many camps; some face deficits twice as large as ours, with no backup.

After issuing refunds and reducing administrative costs, and thanks to donations and rolled-over tuition (see above), we had enough cash on hand to get through August 2020 without drawing on those reserves. The $2+ million in rollovers remains an outstanding obligation.

Depending on what happens approaching next summer, drawing down the reserves now could mean anything from ceasing all further cabin renovations and other capital purchases to finding that the camps have no safety cushion whatsoever to manage likely increased costs of managing coronovirus at camp next year. It’s a precarious position, which is why the full $3 million Sustainability Fund is so urgent.


Is there a 'Cohen Foundation' that can help?

No. Alumni from 1965-2006 may recall that the organization was called the “Eli & Bessie Cohen Foundation.” This was never an endowment for the camps. In fact, it was the opposite. During those years, camp tuition generated funds which were then donated to support Jewish organizations in the US and Israel.

Since 2004, all operating surpluses get reinvested in the camp experience at Pembroke, Tel Noar, and Tevya. Changing the name to “The Cohen Camps” in 2006 reflected this switch.


Is there an endowment?
No. The camps are almost-entirely self-supported by tuition, which provide 97% of income; the other 3% comes from donations. It all gets spent every year on the campers’ experience. There is no endowment to fall back on (yet!). We are deeply grateful to Boston’s CJP for a substantial grant this year toward the Sustainability Fund. In a “regular” year, the camps do not receive funding from CJP or other Federations, synagogues, or movements.


 About the Future 

What will happen in 2021?
We are excited to open in 2021! The Cohen Camps can’t wait to give campers the connection and community they crave after COVID. Our programs will stay fun, engaging, and as “normal” as possible. We’ve developed thoughtful  health/safety plans and secured excellent medical advice. By bringing even more activities outdoors, establishing a protected camp “bubble,” and enhancing everything from handwashing to ventilation to staff training, we anticipate an awesome summer!

Of course, some modifications remain necessary. We must all retain a sense of  flexibility and an ability to adjust along the way. These unknowns put extra pressure on our funding and are a major reason we worry about depleting our reserves.
You can read all of our latest plans online in the latest version of our 2021 Working Playbooks, always available on our websites:


What kinds of increased costs does camp expect for Summer 2021?
The Sustainability Fund provides unrestricted operating support, giving us the flexibility to apply the funds wherever they are needed most.
Among the possibilities for increased costs, here are some we’re anticipating:
  • Scholarship Funds: Welcoming as many families as possible to camp is core to our nonprofit mission. Already, the Cohen Camps support 1 in 4 camp families by providing scholarship funds. Many camp families may face new economic challenges this summer. More scholarship funds may be needed to help campers return and keep our communities whole.
  • Safety & Health Resources: Purchasing PPE such as masks, gloves, sanitizer stations, and more will add up, as will investing further in our Health Centers and staff training. 
  • Adapting Facilities & Procedures: We are modifying ventilation in our bunks, dining halls, and shared indoor spaces. We’re adding shade tents to move as many activities as possible outdoors. We’re assessing all our shared equipment to ensure that it stays safe and sanitary, which may also require increasing our custodial resources, training, and supplies.
  • Professional Development & Program Support: To continue to run exciting programs that build confidence, skills, and connection with attention to new kinds of safety guidance, program leaders are redesigning activities as needed, which will require additional training, resources and materials. Our counselors will need to learn new ways to guide, nurture, and serve as role models for campers in this changed environment. Implementing new safety efforts will require more training days, dedicated attention, and in-session coaching for all staff.
  • Equity & Belonging: We are committed to increasing and deepening the diversity and inclusion within our camp communities, which involves enhancing training and resources for staff and widening our outreach to families and in hiring.


Donate Now


To discuss your giving or ask any further questions

Please contact Cohen Camps Development Director Barbara Stevens at or 781.489.2070.

To discuss camp or ask any further questions

Please contact your camp’s directors. We are all here for you.
Camp Pembroke Co-Directors Amy ( and Becca (
Camp Tel Noar Director Efraim ( and Assistant Directors Amanda ( and Michelle (
Camp Tevya Director Ben ( and Assistant Director Lauren (

Thank you!