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New York Life Foundation Grants $475,000 to Comfort Zone Camp

Foundation Funding Reaches More Than $3,600,000 Since 2007

NEW YORK, N.Y., February 28, 2012 – The New York Life Foundation has awarded Comfort Zone Camp (CZC) a $475,000 grant to support and expand bereavement camps in multiple markets; increase national awareness of the issue of childhood bereavement; and build the capacity of their Volunteer Advisory Councils. The Foundation’s funding of CZC has now exceeded $3.6 million since its first grant in 2007.

“Our partnership with the New York Life Foundation has helped us transform the lives of countless grieving children and their families,” said Pete Shrock, CZC’s national program director. “The support we get is more than monetary; New York Life employees and agents also volunteer their time and talent at our camps.”

“We are proud to support CZC for the important work they’ve done for grieving children and their families nationwide, and we are pleased to continue to support their efforts again this year,” said Chris Park, president of the New York Life Foundation. “With one in seven children experiencing the loss of a parent, guardian, or sibling by the age of 201, the need exceeds the available resources to help these children deal with the loss. Supporting CZC is one way we can help to close the gap.”

The grant will enable CZC to:

  • Supplement their existing traditional camps (for ages 7-17) with four camps designed for young adults (ages 19-25) and five camps in partnership with other organizations;
  • Expand outreach and increase awareness about childhood bereavement through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Hello Grief, CZC’s online social networking community that provides grief information, support and resources, and a forum for campers, bereaved individuals, and advocates to connect to one another; and
  • Build the capacity of Volunteer Advisory Councils in each market that assist CZC with volunteer recruiting, retention, and fundraising.

CZC currently offers seven camps in Virginia, six camps in northern New Jersey, four camps in Massachusetts, and six camps in southern California. CZC also facilitates five other camps through partnership organizations in additional locations. Each camp serves approximately 60 children, ages 7-19, all from a variety of ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds.

The camps, which are free, combine traditional camp activities with grief counseling through age-specific support groups, one-on-one mentoring, confidence building, and safe risk-taking activities. Each camp ends with a memorial service with the camper’s surviving parent or guardian in attendance. The children may sing a song, read a poem, or perform a dance with their cabin mates in honor of their loved ones. Another unique aspect of CZC is the one-to-one pairing of children (“little buddies”) with adults who are trained to offer appropriate support (“big buddies”). In addition to the big buddies, volunteer roles include therapists, arts and crafts helpers, musicians, camp nurses, photographers, recreational assistants, and youth mentors. Camps are staffed by about 90 screened and trained volunteers. Currently CZC has more than 2,000 volunteer positions at the weekend camps, adding up to nearly 116,000 volunteer hours per year.

About Comfort Zone Camp

The mission of CZC is to provide grieving children a voice, a place and a community in which to heal, grow and lead more fulfilling lives. Since its founding in 1998, CZC has held 150 camps and served more than 7,570 children. To date, campers have come to camps from 45 states and Canada. Comfort Zone has become one of the largest bereavement camp programs in the country. Please visit the organization’s Web site at www.comfortzonecamp.org.

About the New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $155 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its focus on “Nurturing the Children,” the Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Life program. To learn more, please visit the Foundation's Web site at www.newyorklife.com/foundation.

1Survey of 1,006 adults conducted via the Internet between November 24th and December 7th, 2009 by the national polling firm of Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc. The poll was sponsored by the New York Life Foundation and Comfort Zone Camp.

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