formerly called the Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation

The Camp Ma-He-Tu Endowment Fund

Formerly known as the Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation


view:  full / summary

A Time for Thanksgiving

Posted on November 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM

As we near the end of the first year of our 5-year, $500,000 campaign to create a permanent income for Camp Ma-He-Tu, we pause to reflect and express gratitude to those who have made the following possible: 

$ 65,500 invested
53,550 in additional pledges

$119,050 in combined investments and pledged assets 

The Board of Directors is humbled by the generosity and the foresight shown by all who have made this possible. Our most recent donors reflect the diversity of those who share the same commitment to Ma-He-Tu's future: 

Nancy Gotwalt, Ma-He-Tu's director in 1956, '57, and 58.
WELCA Messiah Lutheran Church, Staten Island.  These church women have consistently supported Ma-He-Tu over the years.  
Janet Tings, a former camper & counselor, and now on the Lutheran Girls Camp Association Board of Directors. 

We give thanks for 77 years of Camp Ma-He-Tu, and for all of you!

Summer of '14 News

Posted on August 10, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Just before the beginning of Ma-He-Tu's 77th summer, the Foundation received a donation and note from one of its most iconic directors, Jean Gaise Swedberg, and her husband John.  Jean was director from 1964 to 1970, and this summer marks her 50th anniversary as Ma-He-Tu's director.  Calling her directorship her "dream job," Jean wrote, "I thank you...[for creating] an endowment fund for the Lutheran Girls' Camp Association - the Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation."

Midway through our first fundraising year the Foundation has nearly $55,000 invested and growing, and another $55,000 in pledges.  We deeply appreciate the generosity of those who have donated, pledged and started us on our way to our 5-year, $500,000 goal. Thank you!

And now we have other ways to give as well.  Thrivent Financial members can direct Thrivent Choice Dollars to the Foundation.  And those who shop at Amazon may do so through  By logging on to that website when shopping at Amazon, you will have the chance to designate the Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation to receive a percentage of your purchase.  

Every donation from every source helps.  And remember: each gift to Ma-He-Tu's endowment fund is a gift that keeps on giving!  

Ma-He-Tu's In-house Broker

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Ma-He-Tu is blessed to have Danielle Bionda Hughes as its investment adviser for part of its endowment fund. Dani is the founder and CEO of Divine Capital Markets, LLC, a New York investment firm that focuses upon the needs of women-led businesses.  She also attended Camp Ma-He-Tu as a camper and staffer and currently serves on the boards of both the Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation and the Lutheran Girls Camp Association.  

The Foundation has invested part of its endowment  funds with the InFaith Community Foundation (formerly called the Lutheran Community Foundation) to provide a means for donors to make non-cash, deferred and anonymous gifts.  We recently opened a brokerage account with USAA for additional cash gifts that we receive, and it is this fund that Dani has agreed to advise.  The fund is not connected to Divine Capital, and Dani is donating her time and expertise on behalf of Ma-He-Tu's endowment fund.  

Ma-He-Tu is grateful for the support of its alumnae.  Thanks to all of you who are making this endowment fund grow!

The Lebonitte and Petriccione Contributions!

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Tom Lebonitte, husband of our late director Peggy Lebonitte, and Peggy's children Julia and Jimmy designated the Foundation as a means of honoring her memory.  As a result, our endowment fund grew by over $10,000 through the contributions of her friends and family.  

Pasquale and Enid Petriccione, who sent two daughters to Ma-He-Tu, asked guests of Pasquale's 60th birthday party to donate to the Foundation in lieu of gifts.  Their party raised $625!

Ma-He-Tu is fortunate to have so many supporters who want to see their gifts become a permanent legacy though our endowment fund.  As of today's date, we have a combined $91,700 in investments and pledges.  It's a promising start to our campaign to raise $500,000 over the next five years!

If you wish to receive our e-mail newsletter updates, please e-mail us at

$88,000 and growing! And two poignant memorials...

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 9:55 AM

The Foundation's investments, cash gifts and pledges now total $88,000--a remarkable start considering that the endowment fund campaign began just after the end of a tax year.   We are grateful for those who have pledged and donated so early into our campaign.  You have shown the possibilities!

Some of our pledges/donations have come as memorials to loved ones who have passed away.   Donations are still coming in to honor founding director Peggy Tobin Lebonitte, whose husband Tom generously designated the Foundation as a means of remembering and honoring Peggy, her work on the Foundation, and her love of Ma-He-Tu.   Two other recent gifts/pledges were made as memorials.  Please read about them below.

Laurie (Hertzberger) Crecca made a pledge and donation in memory of Debbie Roach, sister of Melissa Roach. Here's what Laurie said:

 Camp Ma-He-Tu holds a very special place in my heart for so many reasons, and Debbie is one of them.

My sister, Jill Herzberger Cedar, and I were the second generation of women to attend Ma-He-Tu, following in the footsteps of my mother, Lenore Illjes Herzberger and my Aunt Jean Illjes, who were campers in the late 40's and early 50's.

For Jill and I, 1975 was our first summer at Camp, and a love of Ma-He-Tu was born in each of us. That first year we met "the Roach sisters"- Pam, who is a few years older, Missy and Debbie, and a true friendship that continues to this day was also born. I am not sure how many times we were actually in the same cabins and tents, but generally speaking if you found one of us, you found all of us. We lived and learned, drank "bug juice" and scratched mosquito bites together for many summers, "deep in the woods"!

We all grew up on Long Island- the Roach girls had been born and bred in Brooklyn, and Jill and I in Hampton Bays. While we spent our summers together at Ma-He-Tu, we also spent our winters travelling the Long Island Railroad to visit, and learning so much more about one another...our friendship and love for one another continuing to grow.

Debbie passed from us too soon, in the spring of 1995. When I think about her, the word that comes to mind is "laughter". Those days at Ma-He-Tu were filled with laughter, and Debbie would throw her beautiful her head back and laugh with abandon- she had a smile and light in her eyes that you could not help but join in when you were in her presence!

I miss Debbie, but am grateful for the joy she brought me and my sister during our summers at Camp Ma-He-Tu. She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside.

Missy and I have remained close friends, and this past summer her daughter, Chloe, and my daugher, Caroline, were Junior cabinmates at Ma-He-Tu! Not only does Chloe resemble Debbie, but that same spirit is there in her, and I believe that the joy Debbie found at Camp lives on in Chloe.

The Foundation also received a touching pledge and donation from Ward Bourn, widower of Jane Lamb Bourn, who attended camp in the 1940s and 1950s. Jane's name first appeared in a 1941 Babbler along with her sister, Judy Lamb, when they were living on Staten Island. Jane appeared again in a Babbler as a Pioneer in 1950, winning awards in sketching, ping pong, campcraft, and as an outstanding athlete.

Two of Jane's contemporaries were Nancy Fitschen and Joanne Mattson. Nancy eventually became directress, and Joanne Mattson (DeVoe) attended the first years of Women-in-the-Woods with her daughter, Kathy DeVoe.In 1951, Jane was listed as a staff member, along with one Dottie Beerman, whom we know now as Dot Becker. We don't know how much longer Jane attended Ma-He-Tu, but we know she carried it with her the rest of her life. She and her husband, Ward, planned an estate gift to Ma-He-Tu, and Ward visited Ma-He-Tu following Jane's passing. We thank Ward for making Jane known to the generations of Ma-He-Tu campers who followed her through his pledge.

If you wish to receive our e-mail newsletter updates, please e-mail us at

Peggy Tobin Lebonitte

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Camp Ma-He-Tu lost a dear friend on January 30 when Peggy Tobin Lebonitte passed away after a battle with brain cancer. She leaves behind her devoted husband, Tom, and two children, Jimmy and Julia.

Peggy started attending Ma-He-Tu at age 11 while growing up in Tenafly, NJ. She spent the summer of 1972 as a CIT in what was then a record number of CITs (9). They called themselves "Nine Grecian Urns" based on The Music Man (which seemed be shown every summer at camp.) The Urns also performed as The Ma-He-Tu-ettes on the camp stage, including at the 60th reunion.

Peggy, Urn #9, went on to work three more summers from '73-75 as an arts & crafts counselor.   After graduating from Trinity College and starting her own family, she sent her daughter Julia to Ma-He-Tu from 1994-2004.  She then become a founding director of the Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation, and used her artistic skills to develop the Foundation's logo and stationery.

Peggy was a cheerful, peaceful person who loved her family, her friends and Camp Ma-He-Tu. She lives on in the hearts of those who knew her, and rests now in loving arms.

Pledge Campaign Begins!

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 4:00 PM

The Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation has officially launched its 5-year campaign to raise $500,000 for Ma-He-Tu'sendowment fund!  

A mailing has gone out to the many friends of Ma-He-Tu explaining the goal of the endowment fund and the various ways one can give.  The Foundation is asking for pledges to be fulfilled over a period of 5 years to build an endowment fund that will provide a permanent source of income for Ma-He-Tu.

And we won't stop there.  The Foundation will also be seeking grants and awards from corporations and philanthropic sources to further build the fund.  Our goal is to use the interest from the fund to ensure the financial stability of Ma-He-Tu for future generations of girls and young women.

As a sign of their personal committment, the 5 members of the Board of Directors have personally pledged over $34,000 to the endowment fund. Together with the initial grant of $20,000 from Mrs. Annamarie White, the Foundation is already more than 10% of the way to reaching our goal.  We are giving by single donations and by recurring monthly donations, options that our donors will have as well.  

We are excited about this campaign, and invite you to join us.  Please make your pledge today!

Endowment Fund Grows Without Trying

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 8:05 PM

The Lutheran Community Foundation reported today that our initial $25,000 investment grew by $1,000 without any additional contributions!  And while the stock market will subject our endowment fund to both ups and downs, it's a sign that we are truly invested and growing.  Just wait until we start our pledge campaign this January!

In Memory of Jean Pidgeon

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Jean Pidgeon was a gentle person who came to Ma-He-Tu as a camper and served later as a counselor and assistant director into the early 1990s. She attended the 75th anniversary in 2012 and led the dining hall in a spirited rendition of A Muzza Muzza. Later that year Jean was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in the spring of 2013. A friend of Ma-He-Tu has donated $1,000 to the endowment fund in her memory. We are so pleased to honor and remember Jean through this contribution!

Ma-He-Tu's Founding Family Launches the Endowment Fund!

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Mrs. Annamarie White, widow of Camp Ma-He-Tu's founder Dr. Paul C. White, bequeathed $20,000 to Camp Ma-He-Tu upon her death as a lasting legacy to the camp her husband founded and served so faithfully as a Lutheran minister.   With this gift,  the Whites have now founded the endowment fund that will ensure Ma-He-Tu's financial health in the years to come.