NY couple donates $20 million to federation Jewish camps
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NY couple donates $20 million to federation Jewish camps

Jack and Shirley Silver legacy gift to help renovate infrastructure at campgrounds catering to 6,000 children annually

Campers kayaking at Camp Gilboa near Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Camp Gilboa)
Campers kayaking at Camp Gilboa near Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Camp Gilboa)

New York philanthropists Jack and Shirley Silver have donated $20 million to the UJA-Federation of New York to improve Jewish day camp facilities.

The legacy commitment gift announced Monday was directed to the new Jewish Day Camp Centennial Signature Initiative, which was established to renovate the infrastructure of the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, the largest Jewish day camp system in North America, according to UJA-Federation.

It is the largest gift given by the Silvers, the agency said in a statement.

The campgrounds house 12 day camps on 505 acres of land on Long Island and Staten Island, as well as Rockland County. Each summer, more than 6,000 children and 1,200 counselors spend their days on the campgrounds. The camps are run by 15 JCCS and Y’s in the Greater New York City area and the Sunrise Association, which provides free camp for children with cancer and their siblings.

Jack Silver is the founder of New York-based SIAR Capital; Shirley Silver is a former social studies teacher. They are co-founders of the Jack S. and Shirley M. Silver Foundation, and namesakes of the Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs at the Manhattan JCC.

“Our gift to help revitalize the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds represents both our passion for Jewish values and our deep belief in the importance of camping to accomplish the purpose of sustaining Jewish values and identity,” Jack Silver said in a statement. “The HKC campgrounds, and the wonderful camps run there, are a key component to meaningful, lifelong Jewish engagement for thousands of Jewish children, and we hope our gift will inspire others to give to this critical project as well.”

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