The Wildflower Camp Foundation (WCF) was established and initially funded with contributions given to Cyndi Jones, founder of WCF, and Steve Birnbaum at their wedding in June of 2004. Read Cyndi’s story on the Inspiration Page. During the fall of 2004 the founding Board began its work. They were inspired by convincing feedback that there was tremendous need for their help, and confirmation from bereavement professionals that their vision matched the need of many bereaved families. During its first summer, WCF awarded 5 camp scholarships to families in the Boston area.
“Current bereavement theory stresses the importance of both addressing the loss and all of the feelings, thoughts, and changes around that, and also of moving forward. Doing something fun and carefree, like going to camp, is really a part of that restoration process. A child is able to become a different person for a time, while still moving forward in life and not being stuck in sadness or anger over the loss.”
- Donna Sharff, Program Director for the Children's Room in Arlington, MA
The Need for Our Ongoing Commitment
It has become evident that our commitment must be ongoing to WCF families. The healing
nature of camp is related to the strong relationships built year to year, as well as the value of the camp experience itself. The child’s anticipation of another year at camp can soften the life stresses of living with the loss of a parent. It is clear to the Board that our mandate must be to provide long-term support to participating families to maximize the impact of our work.
With the support of donors, Wildflower has been able to increase the number of children we support each year—growing from 5 campers in 2005 to 52 campers in 2015. This growth has been supported through generous grants from the Bailey Family Foundation, Eastern Bank, The Foundation for MetroWest, MDRT Foundation, New York Life Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, Orville W. Forte Charitable Foundation, The Risa S. Rosengard Foundation, The Salah Foundation and many personal donations. A major gift from Shirley and Joe Gleich established our endowment fund. Additionally, most of the camps that we work with have generously offered significant tuition reductions or matching grants to our campers.
We became an affiliated agency of the Rodman Ride for Kids in 2011. Since that time, Wildflower has been an active and enthusiastic team in the Rodman Ride every year. On the last Saturday in September, you will find our purple-shirted riders and volunteers on the route in Foxboro, riding in support of our campers and their families. The Rodman Ride is an event like no other. Because Rodman underwrites all Ride expenses and offers a 5% bonus, every dollar we raise—plus 5%—is used in support of our mission. Together with 40 other nonprofit agencies, Wildflower helped raise $12 million for kids at the 2015 Ride.
It has been touching to hear from our families who have shared their stories and given thanks for the opportunity for their children to benefit from the healing nature of camp. With each of us doing our part, the magic of Wildflower is possible.
“I am so grateful for what Wildflower does. There are so many things that have changed for my children since they lost their dad, but the promise of summer is one I cannot easily take from them.”
-WCF mother of three
Recognition of WCF
WCF has been recognized by the American Camp Association–New England with the Community Honor Award in 2008 for outstanding contributions to organized camping.
Our accomplishments have been recognized in the Boston Globe, The Wayland Town Crier and the Wellesley Weston magazine.
Looking to the Future
Our goal is to expand our reach. We strive to increase—even double—the number of families we can serve. In order to make this dream a reality, we are continually working to expand our network of committed donors and volunteers.