CHEWONKI FOUNDATION INC

Rating: 4.97 stars   200 reviews

Issues: Education, Environment

Location: 485 Chewonki Neck Rd Wiscasset ME 04578 USA

Mission: Chewonki inspires transformative growth, teaches appreciation and stewardship of the natural world, and challenges people to build thriving, sustainable communities throughout their lives. Chewonki serves people of all ages throughout the year. The living is simple and our communities are always small. We teach and learn in settings that take advantage of indoor and outdoor classrooms, the woods and water of Maine and beyond, as well as the land and buildings of our 400 acre campus.
Target demographics: Students from K-12, adults, families, active senior citizens.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 20,000 young people have an educational experience that taught them about the natural world.
Geographic areas served: Maine, New England, United States, Abroad
Programs: a semester school for high school juniors, summer camp programs for boys and girls, wilderness trips for teenagers, outdoor classroom programs for school groups, traveling natural history programs.
2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 01-0269460
207-882-7323
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Chewonki has had a profound influence on my life and three of my children as well.

When I think of my years as a camper and counselor two words come to mind joy and core values. From its very beginnings in 1915, the people who serve this incredible organization as teachers, volunteers, cooks, managers, etc. have found ways to expose participants to the joy of being with and learning from the lessons nature provides. We have all benefited from the experiences of jointing together in community to become better responsible citizens.

I recommend a Chewonki experience to anyone seeking a safe place where people genuinely care for each other while providing ample room for joyful experience and personal growth.

Not many organizations stay in business for a hundred years. I takes a successful track record to stay in business this long. And with the continuing support of all those who are touched by its good work I pray for another successful 100 years.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Rating: 5 stars  

29 people found this review helpful

I attended the Maine Coast Semester and it was the first time I had ever been away from home. I honestly did not think I would make it because I was so homesick and scared to do the solo that is part of every Chewonki experience as a Maine Coaster. But through the unfailing support of my teachers and new friends I made it through and absolutely loved it. I learned so much about what it means to be independent and yet rely on others and be able to contribute to the community as well. I would never trade my Chewonki experience for anything because I learned that I had the capability to adapt to so much. Even today, several years after graduating from Chewonki, I am always happy to help when the opportunity presents itself.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my current students who attended the Maine Coast Semester.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue the tradition of keeping each semester small. But I would hope to raise more money in order to compensate the faculty and staff better because they give their hearts each day working with the students in the classroom, on the farm and everywhere.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how close you become with your classmates. Because my semester had only 36 students, we really bonded very well. I think that every semester gives students the chance to really create TRUE friendships with people you otherwise would never meet or interact with in your regular school.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

nothing short of phenomenal. I mean they are truly amazing. I used to take it for granted that I could talk to the staff any time I wanted but I never realized how much energy it required to teach us, talk to us and take care of us students. But they did it and they still do it and what always comes through is that they LOVE what they are doing and that makes every difference in the world.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Bring in more students from around the U.S.A and around the world that need financial aid but are talented and would love to experience Chewonki either through the summer camps or the Maine Coast Semester. It would also be able to compensate its staff better and hopefully retain more each year.

Ways to make it better...

I hadn't been so homesick the first two weeks but everyone was incredibly supportive throughout the nonstop tears. It was my first time away from home.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Finances. Chewonki is in real need of people to donate as little and preferably as much as they can. It will not solve it's problems but it would be helpful for Chewonki to have access to the resources it needs to keep it the great place that it is.

One thing I'd also say is that...

You cannot go wrong by supporting Chewonki. Chewonki has done nothing but wonderful things for me and I hope that anyone who has ever had a positive experience there make the effort to donate something back to either the camps or the Maine Coast Semester.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

27 people found this review helpful

I attended the camp and participated in two summer long wilderness trips in the early 1970's. I subsequently worked there for 2 summers both in Wiscasset and in the field. Those experiences formed the foundation for my appreciation of the natural world and the communities which depend on it. Chewonki also demontrates on a continuous basis how a nuturing and focused community can drive innovation - especially in the area of sustainability. Chewonki has remained steadfast in its commitment to the original and core values established by its founder and the Board while at the same time it has continued to develop new ways of teaching old lessons through expanded program offerings and outreach far beyond its origins as a summer camp. I believe that it is this history of commitment and innovation that attracts a very talented and motivated staff year after year. It is exciting to me that society is beginning to catch up to and respond to issues of sustainability and the interdependancy of human and natural ecosystems that I was exposed to 30 years ago at Chewonki. I am proud to be a part of the Chewonki community and to offer it my support.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Public Policy advocacy in Sustainability, green building, local and regional food systems, alternative energy, natural history programs, experiential education, etc.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue the effort to develop educational offerings that serve the needs of their many stakeholders.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Over the many years since I was actively involved I have continued to be impressed by the sustained energy around issues of change and the innovative approaches to extending its educational reach.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Talented, skilled and compassionate. The environment was very supportive and respectful of students and staff. The administartive heads did a great job putting together the team year after year.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Address issues of plant and infrastructure and also expand its reach and influence to a larger audience (see challenges response).

Ways to make it better...

I can't think of anything. At the time i had little to compare it to.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

How to maintain the quality of programs and how to provide access to a broader audience (i.e. financial aid issues). The Foundation has been very effective in leveraging its resources through cooperative partnerships and land management etc.

One thing I'd also say is that...

The Chewonki Foundation is an absolutely fantastic, multi-faceted organization that really does change lives. You will see that I'm sure from other respondants.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

Chewonki has long been an innovative leader in camping, the study of natural history and communities, education, sustainability and non-profit organization. I have not directly participated in Chewonki programs for nearly 30 years but the impact Chewonki had was huge and I continue to support the Foundation.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the people involved.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

fun and dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

extend it's reach in education.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

The Maine Coast Semester a program of the Chewonki Foundation transformed my daughter's life and has made her a committed and very thoughtful environmentalist who plans to major in biology and minor in environmental studies.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

education

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

be proud

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the transformation of my daughter's life

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

committed, smart, dedicated, educated

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

be secure in its mission

Ways to make it better...

it could not have been better, truly

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

finances

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

21 people found this review helpful

Because my two sons went to Camp Chewonki (and subsequently my two grandsons) I became a member of the Board of the Chewonki Foundation many years ago. Reluctantly, I had to resign 26 years ago when I moved to California. The Foundation is an extremely impressive organization. Not only does it teach young people a love and respect for the natural world, it also sponsors environmental programs and engages in practical activities that further environmental protection. Top to bottom, it's a highly dynamic force for the environment.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the work it does teaching young people a respect for the natural world

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the caring and committed people who run it

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

top notch.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

engage in even more outreach to the citizens of the Northeast - and, for that matter, the country and world.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

I've known Chewonki for almost 25 years. To my knowledge it has always been environmentally friendly, but has now become an proactive advocate for the environment. My two sons attended summer camp for many summers and later as counselors. Both have become responsible citizens and advocates of sustainability.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many ways as they put what they teach into what they practice. They are continuing to enhance the ways that the camp itself becomes more sustainable and earth friendly.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue the funding efforts so the camp and the foundation can do even more work and buy more land to be set aside from commercial development projects.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

all the people believe in the mission of the camp and foundation and have fun carrying it out.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

all positive in attitude, dedicated to their students and campers, and show respect for the environment.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

set up an endowment so more campers with financial limitations can attend and it could buy more land to set aside for environmental friendly uses.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to partake in what the camp has to offer in a variety of programs that involve adults and the wilderness.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

to fund the ambitious and worthwhile projects that they have envisioned.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this is a remarkably well run organization with visionary leadership.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

28 people found this review helpful

My daughter Kate attended Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki and was profoundly affected by her experience. Chewonki's interdisplinary approach to education helps all students see that, like nature and the world wide web, knowledge is intervoven and learning is best approached not by isolating disciplines but by interconnecting them. Maine Coast Semester's curriculum does just that. With her classmates at Berkeley's Masters in Journalism school a couple of years ago, Kate won a national award for her radio reporting on global warming--her story was on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Her passion for the environment and environmental issues was ignited, at least in part, by the teachers and experiences she had at Chewonki.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the growth of my daughter

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue it on its present path.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Their philosophy is consistent with the direction I think education should take.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Outstanding

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Create other schools like Maine Coast Semester around the country

Ways to make it better...

I had had more contact with the school

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Financial

One thing I'd also say is that...

Too few people know of the work of Chewonki.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

30 people found this review helpful

I have been a donor, an attendant at a workshop, and a member of the general public. In every way, I am impressed with Chewonki, not only how it has stayed true to its original mission as a camp for young people, but also in how it is constantly exploring ways to live more sustainably on this earth and educating others as to how to do so. I will have three grandchildren at the camp this summer, and look forward to more attending in the future.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The lives of people who work at Chewonki and who have participated in Chewonki's programs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand the programs for girls.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being on the forefront of education for the general public.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

outgoing, kind, thoughtful, and with a mind of service to the wider community.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help this country implement policies that would make our economy more ecologically sustainable.

Ways to make it better...

I had had more time to be with the program participants.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funding in the face of the current recession. Despite the loyalty of Chewonki "alumni" there is not enough funding to do all that this organization could do.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I wish that there were more organizations that not only developed ideas about sustainability, but also implemented them as Chewonki has done in its day-to-day living.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

24 people found this review helpful

What I found most exciting about Chewonki is that they are constantly working to be an environmentally responsible organization and are most importantly passing this goal on to students and campers. They are influencing and changing lives of so many young people. My daughter attended the Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki and because of her experience there, she has decided to major in Environmental Science at college this coming fall. I know many parents whose children have attended Chewonki in one form or another and it is always a life changing experience for them. They become much more aware of the world around them and their impact on the earth.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

how it has influenced so many lives.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

keep the wonderful standards and values that they now promote.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Their hard work and consistent message. I feel as if they are wonderful non profit that puts their donations to the best of use.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Extremely interesting, caring, driven by their passion for the environment and sustainable lifestyle

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Be a flag ship for so many schools, camps, and educational organizations

Ways to make it better...

they had more financing

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

getting the word out about how special Chewonki is.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I hope more parents would realize how amazing Chewonki is and especially the Maine Coast Semester 4 month school program would be for their child.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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