WBZ Cares: Local and National Celebrities Help Camp Harbor View Reach Their Financial Goals

BOSTON (CBS) – Each month, WBZ Cares highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community.

This month, WBZ Cares focuses on Camp Harbor View, a summer camp on Boston’s Long Island that provides under-served youth in the city with unique experiences meant to build confidence and broaden horizons.

Raising funds to keep the camp open year-round is no easy task–however, each year, the organization’s Beach Ball fundraiser, one of its largest, helps to provide programming for campers and their families.

This year, over 1,000 people attended the 10th annual fundraiser at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, raising $8 million dollars. The fundraiser runs every second Saturday in June.

As he spoke into a microphone, camp founder and master fundraiser Jack Connors worked the crowd for donations.

wbzcares july2017 week2 WBZ Cares: Local and National Celebrities Help Camp Harbor View Reach Their Financial Goals

Jack Connors, Camp Harbor View Founder addresses the crowd at The 10th Annual Beach Ball fundraiser in June. (Photo Credit: Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ News Radio1030)

“How many of you would raise your hand, and honor us by sponsoring 10 kids at $35,000?” he called into the crowd. “We need several…There’s a hand right there!”

As the one hand is raised to donate, another attendee raised their hand, and the audience cheers on in applause.

“There’s a hand right there,” he said.

Actor, singer, and national television personality host Harry Connick, Jr. was the main highlight of the event. Connors had Connick, Jr. help him get a special guest up onto the stage.

“Well, I would like to personally ask Governor Baker to come on up here,” he said. “Governor? There he is. See, that wasn’t so hard.”

“I cannot believe I don’t have my phone with me at the moment so I can take a picture with him,” Governor Baker said.

Baker and his wife Lauren made a donation to the camp, calling it a very worthwhile endeavor.

“It’s a great opportunity to experience a really structured but very buoyant outdoor program that, for most kids, might simply be beyond their scope of vision without it,” he said.

Camp Harbor View also holds a 5K run every November called the City-Thon. Their annual operating budget is $5-Million dollars. Half of that money goes to pay their nine full-time staff members and 90 summer employees. According to Camp President Sharon McNally, it is one of their biggest expense.

“Staff is our biggest expense,” McNally said. “Also our location out on Long Island is an expensive place to maintain. When we lost the bridge a few years ago, we started using ferry service to get the kids back and forth. We do serve three meals a day, our food costs are about half a million dollars for the summer.”

McNally says they’re very careful how they spend their money.

“Probably about 90-percent of what people donate goes to the kids,” she said.

McNally says they also have an endowment fund to sustain the camp for future generations.

“Jack’s called it his legacy, she said. “We’d like to raise $30 million dollars during the course of the campaign just to make sure that future kids have the same opportunities that the kids at camp have now.”

For more information about Camp Harbor View, visit: campharborview.org or the WBZ Cares section on CBSBoston.com during the month of July.

More from Kim Tunnicliffe
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