ORWELL, Ohio – The Farm Credit-Camp Whitewood Community Challenge is gaining a lot of attention and support, even though raising money for a septic system isn’t an easy sell.
Earlier this year, the northeastern Ohio Farm Credit Services offices launched a community challenge to raise awareness and funds for 4-H Camp Whitewood, which serves northeastern Ohio.
The agricultural cooperative lender is matching each dollar donated to the camp’s capital improvement campaign, and has committed to a total $25,000 donation.
On a roll. Individual donations over the last month total nearly $1,400, according to John King, the camp’s executive director.
And other donors are starting to step up to the plate. The Ohio Livestock Coalition is donating $250 on behalf of Mahoning County milk producers Bill and Debbie Grammer, winners of the coalition’s statewide Good Neighbor award. The winner gets to select a nonprofit organization for its prize money and the Grammers, who have sent their sons to 4-H camp, selected 4-H Camp Whitewood. Debbie Grammer is also a financial services officer at the Farm Credit office in Alliance.
And because the Good Neighbor award is cosponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Mahoning County Farm Bureau is matching that $250 donation in a salute to their local winners.
King estimates he’s also received verbal pledges of at least another $10,000.
EPA order. The 226-acre camp, located near Windsor in southern Ashtabula County, is under an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency order to replace its aging septic system. But raising the nearly $500,000 to fund the construction has been tough.
Over the course of several years, King has pieced together grants and low interest loans and construction finally began Jan. 29.
But the campaign is still about $100,000 short.
Farm Credit boost. Staff at the Farm Credit Service offices in Alliance, Orwell and Oberlin recognized the need and decided to issue a community challenge.
Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, which is headquartered in Louisville, Ky., gives back to local communities through its FCS Support for Agriculture stewardship program. The program targets funding to agricultural projects and educational efforts, with a priority to youth and young farmers.
And so the Farm Credit Camp Whitewood Community Challenge was born.
Issuing challenge. The Farm Credit staff is challenging individual community members and agribusinesses to step up and make additional donations to the camp, with Farm Credit matching those dollar for dollar. Farm Credit’s total contribution will be $25,000.
Still time to donate. It is hoped the project, which is under way, will be completed by May 1, in time for the summer camping season.
The camp is used for outdoor education camping and band camps by several northeastern Ohio schools, as well as its 4-H camp base. It serves nine counties: Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage, Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana, Stark and Summit.
In all, more than 5,000 youth and adults visit the camp each year.
The facilities can also be rented by non-4-H and school groups.
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