< Back

Summer Lives On – Thanks to the Hartford Foundation

We are grateful for the support the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has shown for our Sunrise Northeast Opportunities virtual summer camp program. Their grant award of $26,500 has enabled us to continue providing an enriching camp-like experience to over 150 individuals with developmental disabilities from the comfort and safety of their homes.

In response to the generous support received from the Hartford Foundation, Esther Vallas, our Executive Director had this to say:

“Thanks to the generosity and encouragement of The Hartford Foundation, we have been given the opportunity to re-envision our camp program this summer and dream big about what is possible! Our team has been invigorated by the brainstorming and creativity needed to create our Camp at Home project this summer. The joy and connection that the Camp at Home program has brought to over 150 recipients wouldn’t have been possible without the support and collaboration of the team at The Hartford Foundation. We are honored to be trusted partners with The Hartford Foundation and look forward to continuing to redefine what’s possible together.”

For decades, we have operated out of the Camp Harkness campgrounds to provide both an enriching camp experience for men and women with disabilities as well as much needed respite for their families. As a result, campers have forged life-long friendships, developed critical communication and motor skills, and become more in tune with the natural world around them. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented challenge for us all, but especially impacted our campers looking to explore the outdoors and see their friends again. With heavy hearts and out of an abundance of concern for the safety and well-being of our loyal campers, we made the difficult decision to forgo camp for the 2020 summer. But all hope was not lost.

Determined to provide our enthusiastic campers with some sort of camp-like experience, our operations came together to create a unique and engaging camp-at-home program centered on the same tenets of literacy, art, social connection, and nutritional wellness. But such an endeavor still carried a hefty cost. Thankfully sharing our dedication for people with disabilities, it was the incredible support of The Hartford Foundation that has enabled us to pursue this exciting and new direction. Their financial support has allowed us to use our award from their summer programming fund to create and deliver unique camp-inspired activities.

On behalf of the Sunrise Northeast Opportunities team and our campers who, while spread throughout the state, remain with us in spirit, thank you Hartford Foundation for your continuing support for people with disabilities.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrates 90 years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families, and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $620 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.