Why Give?

Four Winds * Westward Ho is rare among American summer camps for many reasons. One of those, certainly, its status as a 501(c)(3) charity, and the generosity of donors over the years.

Most camps that are similar to Four Winds are family businesses, and that is how Four Winds got its start. Ruth Brown, our founder, began Camp as her private business. Four Winds set out on a different path in the late 1960s. When Miss Ruth was ready to retire, she created the 501(c)(3) that exists today, and then donated the Four Winds property and business to the charity, ensuring that the Four Winds experience would be available for generations of children to come.

Tens of thousands of donors have paid tribute to that initial, stunning act of generosity by donating to Four Winds. Those donors have supported programs and facilties that are consistent with Four Winds’ unique culture, but which, in all frankness, are not sustainable from a business perspective. To put it another way, our donors allow Four Winds to exist in a state that’s much closer to its true values than simple economics would allow. Here are a few examples of such programs:

Financial Aid Program

We are very proud of our Financial Aid Program. Every year, 20% of the campers attending Four Winds receive full or partial Financial Aid. Our commitment to those families receiving Financial Aid is for three years. Financial Aid is a benefit not only to individual families, but benefits the community as whole by creating a richer, more diverse camp experience for everyone. The Financial Aid Program is primarily supported by both current use gifts and endowment gifts, but there are many ways to help.

One camper lifts another near horse barn
Campers lie in a circle on the grass

Preservation of the Camp Property

The Camp property in Deer Harbor is a magical place. We consider it a high complement when an alum from Ruth Brown’s days visits Camp and tells us that it looks just the same as it did back then. This is our goal, but it is no easy feat to maintain and preserve a summer camp for children that has been operating since 1927. We take on facilities projects that are sorely needed, but we do so carefully. We are proud of the feedback we have received that while the upgrades serve Camp’s needs, they fit Camp’s aesthetics as well.

Big Boat Program

Big Boat sailing has been part of the Four Winds tradition since Camp’s founding. In 1995 Camp commissioned the Scarano Brothers of Albany, New York to build Carlyn, a 61’ yawl built with the Four Winds mission in mind. Today, we use Carlyn as big boats have been used at Camp over the decades – for children to have adventures in Puget Sound and the Georgia Strait. Carlyn was purchased and is maintained through donations to Camp.

Four Winds is a public charity recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3). As such, donations to Four Winds are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please consult a tax advisor for specific advice. Our Tax ID number is 91-0828602.