March 2012
JData Revealed


Growth in Jewish Data Overnight Camps: Call for Cautious Optimism
A Shared Measurement System
The Business of Camp: Budget and Personnel
Foundation Perspective on Camping Data
Westward Ho!



March 12-13:  

Leaders Assembly

New Brunswick, NJ 


Learn more about upcoming JData presentations here. 




February 2012  


March 14: Using JData Research to explore the Jewish Education Landscape     


March 21:  Getting Started with JData  


March 26: JData Crosstabs 


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Letter from the Director  

On March 12-13, some 650 camp devotees---- volunteer leaders, professionals, graduate students, funders, and----yes, JData researchers----will gather for the 2012 Foundation for Jewish Camp Leaders Assembly. One of the main purposes of the conference is to explore new areas of growth for camp. Two years ago, Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) started using JData to track growth in the field. Data now available to all JData users provides a baseline by which future activity will be measured and assessed.

This issue of JData Revealed is dedicated to the FJC overnight camps and how they changed from Summer 2010 to Summer 2011, in particular with regard to enrollments. The articles herein showto what is possible with a longitudinal database. Adding the dimension of time turns a simple system into a highly complex one, but one with far greater explanatory power.

FJC has been an advocate and a driver of growth in the field. Jeremy Fingerman, FJC's Chief Executive Officer, writes about the critical importance of a shared information system like JData for "collective impact."  Sandy Edwards, Associate Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation, writes about the foundation's support of FJC as a "field builder" and the value of data for evaluating progress and stimulating dialogue.  

FJC is on the move with 151 nonprofit residential camps in the U.S. and Canada. (See Figure 1.) JData is moving right along with it, gathering the information needed to document, evaluate, and support change.

Figure 1: FJC World of Jewish Summer Camps



Retrieved March 6, 2012, from

Amy L. Sales, Ph.D.
Project Director 
Senior Research Scientist, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies 

JData Revealed: Growth in Jewish Overnight Camps----Data Call for Cautious Optimism  

2011 data from the Jewish overnight camps show an overall 7% growth in enrollments and support some optimism about the future.

As seen in Figure 2, 60% of the camps increased enrollment between Summer 2010 and Summer 2011. Another 35%  lost enrollment, and 6% remained at essentially the same level. These results compare favorably with past growth rates: Between 2007 and 2010, fewer than half of the reporting camps (47%) enjoyed increases in enrollment.

Figure 2. Change in Enrollment (Summer 2010 - Summer 2011) (n=121 camps)

Retrieved March 6, 2012, from


A Shared Measurement System
Jeremy J. Fingerman, Foundation for Jewish Camp 

In recent years, nonprofit writers in journals and blogs have been examining a shift in the ways many funders and philanthropists approach their philanthropic giving.  No longer are they solely considering issues of the heart; today's foundations and major donors look for clear ROI (return on investment) as demonstrated by measurable objectives, benchmarks, and hard data.  

Over the last six years, the Foundation for Jewish Camp has been echoing this trend, introducing data collection and analysis as a primary element of our signature programs, including the One Happy Camper incentive program, Executive Leadership Institute trainings, and the Camper Satisfaction Insight surveys.  We know that we can't advocate effectively for the field of Jewish camp without data.


JData Revealed: The Business of Camp---- Budget and Personnel

JData is concerned with the business of camp and, as such, gathers information on budgets and personnel. Cost, as we learned from the 2011 data, is implicated in the effort to grow enrollments.

Impact of Cost on Enrollment

Camp operating expenses range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars. Such variation is a result of the camps' widely differing situations in terms of facilities, session lengths, number of campers, types of specialty programs, inclusion of campers with special needs, and other factors. JData wondered if the camp's budget had any impact on camper enrollments. To do this analysis, we divided camps into three categories based on their operating expenses per camper: (1) camps that, on average, cost less than $3,000 per camper; (2) camps that cost between $3,000 and $4,000 per camper; and (3) camps that cost $4,000 or more per camper.


Foundation Perspective on Camping Data
Sandra J. Edwards, PhD, Jim Joseph Foundation 

From its inception as a private foundation incorporated in 2005, the Jim Joseph Foundation, following the wishes of our donor himself, has viewed Jewish education broadly.  The Foundation values formal and experiential Jewish education. We believe that Jewish learning happens in a variety of venues. For the Foundation, funding immersive experiential educational experiences such as camping has become a key strategy in aspiring to achieve the Foundation's vision of increasing the number of young Jews who are engaged in ongoing Jewish learning and choosing to live vibrant Jewish lives.

One of the Foundation's major investments has been in the work of the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC). We view FJC as a high performing organization dedicated to increasing the number of campers in Jewish residential camps through a variety of approaches to make camp more accessible, build camp capacity, and improve the Jewish education that takes place at camp.


JData Revealed: Westward Ho!  

Twenty camps----of all types----have been established since 2000 in a wave of start-up activity unmatched since the 1940s and 1950s. (Figure 7)

Figure 7. Year of Establishment (n=139 camps)

Retrieved March 6, 2012, from

Earlier waves of camp building reflected the concentration of the Jewish population in the Northeast and the strong tradition of urban Jews sending their children to camp for the summer. Since 2000, however, foundations, federations, and movements have made a concerted effort to provide more camp opportunities in the West and South. Of the 20 recently-established camps, eight are in the West and three in the South. Funders have also made extraordinary efforts to incentivize families to take advantage of these opportunities. Notable in this regard is the Jim Joseph Foundation's JWest incentive program highlighted by Sandy Edwards in this issue.


JData is operated by Brandeis University with generous support from the Jim Joseph Foundation 

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