Largest legacy commitment gift that a donor has made known to UJA during their lifetime

NEW YORK CITY (September 26, 2017) — Long-time New York-based philanthropists Jack and Shirley Silver have made a $20 million legacy gift to UJA-Federation of New York through their foundation.  The gift will be used to help fulfill the objective of UJA’s new Jewish Day Camp Centennial Signature Initiative, which has been established to dramatically revitalize the infrastructure of the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds (HKC), the largest Jewish Day Camp System in North America.  This is the largest legacy commitment gift that a donor has made known to UJA during their lifetime.

When the Silver gift is realized, UJA-Federation can use it to support programming or capital projects, increase an endowment for operating support for the camps and facilities, or repay advanced costs for the project.

“Jack and Shirley’s gift is groundbreaking and an exceptional show of support for the fundamental importance of Jewish day camping,” said UJA-Federation of New York CEO Eric S. Goldstein. “We at UJA, and all the organizations that operate on HKC, are deeply grateful to the Silvers for their leadership in realizing the potential of the HKC campgrounds to transform children’s lives.”

HKC was purchased in the 1950s by visionary UJA-Federation leaders.  Today, it houses 12 separate day camps on 505 acres of rustic land on three separate sites in Long Island, Rockland County and Staten Island, each accommodating a diverse camper population including Jews, non-Jews, children with special needs and life-threatening illnesses, and seniors.

For more than 60 years, the camps have served hundreds of thousands of children. 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 YM-YWHAs in the Greater New York City Area and the Sunrise Association, which provides free camp for children with cancer and their siblings.

In summer 2016, more than 800 campers received a total of $1.5 million in scholarships so they could attend camp at HKC. An additional 813 children with cancer and their siblings attended Sunrise Day Camp without charge, and the camps at HKC served more than 700 campers with special needs.

“Our gift to help revitalize HKC 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,” said Jack Silver on behalf of himself and wife Shirley.  “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.”

Mr. Silver, the founder of New York-based SIAR Capital, and his wife Shirley, a former social studies teacher, are long-time supporters of Jewish causes, 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.

The Jewish Day Camp Centennial Signature Initiative is one of three major initiatives launched by UJA-Federation of New York in recognition of its 2017 Centennial Year.

About UJA-Federation of New York

For 100 years, UJA-Federation has inspired New Yorkers to act on their values and invest in our community for the biggest impact. Through UJA-Federation, more than 50,000 donors address issues that matter most to them, pooling their resources to care for Jews everywhere and New Yorkers of all backgrounds, respond to crises close to home and far away, and shape our Jewish future. Working with a network of more than 80 core partners and hundreds of other nonprofits, UJA-Federation is the world’s leading local philanthropy; our reach extends from New York to Israel to nearly 70 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please visit our website at