St. Louis, MO (January 11, 2018) — Sherwood Forest, a youth development agency that helps young people escape poverty, is announcing Way More Than Camp, a multi-year fundraising campaign to increase program capacity. The $6.2 million goal will provide a much-needed investment in facilities and infrastructure so that more St. Louis area youth can participate in programs.
The campaign is off to a strong start, having raised $5.5 million gift over the past two years, including a $1 million from an anonymous foundation. This also includes a $500,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma. To meet this challenge, Sherwood Forest must achieve the balance of the campaign goal by June 30.
Sherwood Forest is one of only three organizations in the nation that offers month-long residential camp experiences for youth growing up in poverty. More youth apply to Sherwood Forest annually than there are spaces available. Funds raised through Way More Than Camp will allow much-needed facility expansion at the organization’s 478-acre campsite outside of Lesterville, MO. Specific projects include a new dining hall, new residential cabins, an outdoor learning center with a library and STEM labs. The campaign also includes a $1 million endowment fund to help ensure long-term financial sustainability.
“Each year, we are forced to turn away kids because our current facilities can’t accommodate them,” said Sherwood Forest Executive Director Mary Rogers. “There is an increasing demand for the transformative experiences Sherwood Forest provides, and we want to increase the number of youth who can benefit from both our core programming and school partnerships.”
Way More Than Camp is being led by three volunteer co-chairs including Robert Holmes, Sherwood Forest’s Past Board President and President & CEO of Commerce Bank; Board Vice President, Marjorie Melton, PE, LEED AP, President & CEO of M3 Engineering Group, and Mike Jay, former owner and co-director of Camp Kamaji for Girls.
Substantial support has already been committed in the form of lead gifts from the William T. Kemper Foundation, the Berges Family Foundation, Emerson, and the Dana Brown Charitable Trust.
In celebration of the campaign launch, Sherwood Forest will host a free kick-off event on Saturday, January 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. at T-Rex (911 Washington Avenue). The event, titled “Rekindle,” will include various camp-themed activities, a photo booth, a camp store, refreshments and more. To RSVP for the event, visit rekindle.rsvpify.com or call 314.644.3322.
Additional information about the Way More Than Camp campaign and upcoming events can be found at www.WayMoreThanCamp.org.
About Sherwood Forest
Founded in 1937, Sherwood Forest is an independent, non-profit youth development agency helping kids from low-income families in the St. Louis region escape poverty. It is one of only three organizations across the nation offering month-long residential summer camp experiences and year-round programing. Sherwood Forest believes education and opportunity are rights fundamental to all children and their mission is transforming the lives of children in need through powerful programs that allow them to discover their self-worth, realize their potential, and become successful adults.