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Looking ahead to 2024

As we approach the New Year, I want to express my gratitude to our many supporters across the Great Lakes Region.

Just recently, we experienced a highly successful Giving Tuesday, raising more than $11,000 and earning another $10,000 from an anonymous donor. Anonymous in name, but not in heart! Those of you on social media saw that campaign—as you have seen North Star Reach back on social media throughout the year—thanks to the creative volunteer efforts of Suzanne Morrison, Director of Marketing for Hatch Stamping, and Ashley and Kevin Anger of marketing communications firm Think Clutch. Many thanks to that team!

Year-end annual appeal letters are on their way to our generous donors and are already receiving responses. At the time of writing this update, we have received more than $800,000 in pledges and donations this year—a vote of confidence in the progress we have made in 2023. Your financial support allowed us to offer NSR experiences to more than 200 youth and families in 2023. (And volunteers! We love our volunteers!)

It also allows us to work toward 2024 goals and fundraising with plans to provide camping experiences for up to 600 campers and camper families! We are grateful for this year’s vote of confidence and ask others to collaborate with us during 2024 as we implement a five-year strategic plan!

I am personally grateful to the NSR Board of Directors who rallied in support of the children we serve through NSR. All Board members have made personal financial donations, engaged in fundraising activities, and have donated hundreds of volunteer hours guiding the evolution of this unique organization and regional asset.

This update marks my last as Chair of the Board of Directors. I will continue serving on the Board of this organization and mission that I love, and I am thrilled to turn over the Chair position to Sheri Mark.

Sheri was a member of the original leadership that raised more than $20 million that built North Star Reach and offered its first year of transformational experiences to so many excited children in 2016. She agreed to rejoin the cause and works fervently and passionately for the mission and future of North Star Reach.

Finally, I am grateful for staff leadership provided by long-term veterans Patrick “Love the Mooseness” Smith, our Chief Program Officer, and Jeff Boots, our Facility Director, who both work tirelessly in support of the camp they both love. They, and the Board, have been supported by an experienced executive, our Interim CEO, David Leckey.

Best Wishes,

Matthew Denenberg
Chair – North Star Reach

Keep the Campfires Burning – Updates from North Star Reach – November 2023

Fall Work Weekend

“This is my other family.” — Issac (former camper)

Issac’s feeling captured the community at camp during North Star Reach’s first work weekend when nearly 70 campers made up of our children, their families, and supporters gathered around the campfire connecting with each other and volunteering to prepare the camp for winter. As the photos below reveal, it involved joyful work and shared passion that included some of our camp kids embracing the spirit of Mooseness over the three days.

There was lots of work,



and kids!

Board Chair Matthew Denenberg shared highlights about 2023 including:

  • The NSR team has raised $700,000 in 2023.
  • We had two weeks of camp serving 140 children and adults with special needs and 70 volunteers in partnership with Friendship Circle.
  • NSR maintained American Camping Association and SeriousFun Children’s Network camp accreditation.
  • We have engaged professional executive management and fundraising leadership to help as we continue to evolve.

And updates about 2024:

  • The NSR Board will continue to lead fundraising efforts as it builds out a 3-year campaign for camp operations and sustainability.
  • We are preparing for 3-4 weeks of onsite camp programing in partnership with mission aligned nonprofits and Autumn Family Camps.
  • We will build up staff and volunteers for expanded camp programing in 2025.

In other news:
Congratulations to Board Chair Matthew Denenberg.

Dr. Denenberg will be recognized as a 2023 Distinguished Volunteer at the 32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Gala Dinner held by Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Detroit Chapter. Matthew is being recognized for his tireless leadership in building the transition and evolution of North Star Reach.

Please welcome our newest Board Member, Cristina Spurlin.

She is a Sr. Program Consultant of Health Equity and Population Health for Trinity Health where she is focused on the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Cristina holds a master’s in healthcare management from Michigan State University and Bachelor of Science degree focusing on cell and molecular biology and biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Cristina knows NSR well. She was a volunteer counselor and served as Chair of NSR’s Young Professionals Board. Cristina is committed to fundraising (all NSR Board members agree to personally donate and actively fundraise) and she is leading our grant writing to foundations and corporations. THANKS CRISTINA.

Please contact CEO David Leckey at to discuss our progress toward 2024 as we build our sustainable future on behalf of the children and families of North Star Reach.

If you are inspired by our work and wish to join us in making a difference, we invite you to consider making a donation to keep the campfires lit.