CASCO – The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has provided a $10,000 gift to Camp Sunshine, a one-of-a-kind national retreat in Casco for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Harvard Pilgrim selected Camp Sunshine as the result of a survey of its Maine employees who were asked which local charity meant the most to them. The $10,000 donation was presented at Camp Sunshine during a special ceremony Dec. 22.

“We sincerely thank all of our friends at Harvard Pilgrim for their generosity and overwhelming support of our mission,” said Matthew M. Hoidal, executive director of Camp Sunshine. “And special thanks to Camp Sunshine family member Steve Conley of Harvard Pilgrim in Maine for his support and endorsement of Camp Sunshine within Harvard Pilgrim.”

To commemorate its 30th anniversary in 2011, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation surveyed employees in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire to identify a worthy charity organization in each state for a $10,000 gift. Camp Sunshine was the overwhelming choice in Maine, said Karen Voci, executive director of the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation.

The not-for-profit health plan’s Maine employees said they were impressed with Camp Sunshine’s unique family-focused program as well as the organization’s continued top ratings by Charity Navigator, the nation’s leading independent charity evaluator, for sound fiscal management.

“Our colleagues at Harvard Pilgrim are deeply invested in their communities,” Voci said. “As we celebrate our 30th anniversary as the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation in 2011, we are proud to support them to make a difference in the communities where they live and work – and we’re thrilled that Camp Sunshine is once again their organization of choice.”

Besides raising funds for Camp Sunshine during the holidays, Harvard Pilgrim employees also take part in an annual spring clean up at the Casco camp.

Harvard Pilgrim employees and its foundation also contribute through an annual Employee Fund Raising Campaign, collecting more than $14,000 this year for Camp Sunshine and through employee nominated mini-grants aside from employee service days. This marks the fourth year that Camp Sunshine has been the Maine employees’ selection for the Employee Fund Raising Campaign.

Located along Sebago Lake, Camp Sunshine provides a welcome retreat for children and their families coping with such life-threatening illnesses as cancer, kidney disease and lupus. Since 1984, Camp Sunshine has offered recreational, medical and counseling services at no cost to more than 32,000 individuals from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds.

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