Mission: The mission of the Louis August Jonas Foundation is to develop in promising young people from diverse backgrounds lifelong commitment to sensitive and responsible leadership for the betterment of their communities and the world.
Target demographics: Promising youth with a diverse background from around the world.
Direct beneficiaries per year: More than 120 young adults from over 30 different countries.
Geographic areas served: Creating a better world tomorrow by inspiring young leaders today.
Programs: The Louis August Jonas Foundation operates a full scholarship, summer leadership program for teenagers from around the world. The participants are selected for their character and leadership potential. We bring together a diverse group of gifted, highly motivated young people from more than twenty-five countries around the world to participate in Camp Rising Sun - a program carefully designed to promote personal growth, leadership skills, a service ethic, and intercultural understanding. The program is located in Rhinebeck, New York. Camper selection is overseen by local committees of alumni around the globe.
Upon completion of the summer camp program, participants become members of the Camp Rising Sun Alumni Community with a vibrant, worldwide network. Numerous regional gatherings are held each year. The foundation awards scholarships to support alumni pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees through the George E. Jonas scholars program. Through publications and events, LAJF celebrates the personal and professional achievements of our numerous alumni whose work earns them recognitions in many fields of endeavor.
I attended Camp Rising Sun in 2005 and 2006 as a camper. I worked at Camp Rising Sun as a counselor and Assistant Camp Director in 2010 and 2011. I came back again as Camp Director in 2016 and 2017. Camp Rising Sun has had a lasting impact on my life and I plan to stay engaged in the work of the Foundation for many years to come. I was exposed to so many different ways of living and thinking; I met individuals from around the world in regions I may never have a chance to visit in person. The community at camp creates space to ask questions and get to know individuals on a personal level through rotating tent assignments, off-site camping trips, and teamworks, while there are also more structured periods that allow for campers to lead instructions on topics they are passionate about, be it culture, science, music, or political debates. The entire camp experience allows campers to take ownership of their camp experience as leaders of their peers each day and also challenges individuals to think critically and reflect upon how their decisions as leaders affect those in their communities and around the world. I am so thankful for the leadership and learning I took away from this experience, and I found myself thinking more critically and doing more independent research about global issues far after the experience ended as a way to learn more about the communities where my Camp friends lived. I continue to reflect and build upon the foundation I gained at Camp Rising Sun today.