CAMDEN, NJ—Backed by Camden High School football players and cheerleaders, Drew Katz spoke about the legacy of the man whose name crowned the brand new state-of-the-art purple and yellow scoreboard that stood behind him.
“This is about everyone who cares deeply about Camden,” Katz said. “To be able to honor him in this way today is really, really extraordinary.”
That man was the founder of the Katz Foundation and Drew’s father, the late Lewis Katz, and thanks to the work of a volunteer committee and a $300,000 donation from the Katz Foundation, the Camden High School athletics field now has a new scoreboard.
The scoreboard was unveiled Tuesday morning in front of officials from the Camden City School District, the City of Camden and the Katz Foundation, along with community members and the Camden High football team, cheerleaders and marching band.
Tuesday’s unveiling is the first milestone of a multi-million capital fundraising campaign to upgrade the school’s athletic facilities led by the We Can Do This [with a little help from our friends] Committee. The other phases of the campaign that include an estimated $1.5 million for new bleachers and a press box, and an estimated $2.9 million for new field house.
Lewis Katz, who grew up in the Parkside neighborhood, was a 1958 graduate of Camden High School. He went on to become one of the area’s most philanthropic figures, and Drew Katz his legacy will continue to live on at the Camden High School athletic fields.
“I hope in the days and years to come, young men and women will look up at the school board and see his name, nudge their neighbor and say, you’ll want to look up that guy because he was pretty special,” said Katz, who is current CEO of the Katz Foundation.
The $300,000 donation from the Katz Foundation will also go toward the other phases of the project.
“They that share freely, and give generously to those in need, their good deeds will be remembered forever,” said Pastor Amir Khan, a member of the We Can Do This Committee, quoting the Bible. “And now we know the Katz Foundation will have that honor forever and ever.”
The “We Can Do This,” led by volunteer Stanley White, is a committee is comprised of community members, alumni and Camden High boosters. Previously, the committee led the effort to raise funds for a new turf field.
Acting Superintendent Katrina McCombs, who was the captain of the cheerleading team when she was a student at Camden High School in 1987, thanked the We Can Do This Committee and Katz Foundation for the donation.
“When you heard that the Camden High field needed the support of the community, you answered in a big way,” McCombs said. “We will celebrate Panther victories under the glow of the new scoreboard, sitting on brand new bleachers.”
Launched in late May, the fundraising campaign is offering naming rights for major donors, along with selling original bricks from the stonework of the Camden High School tower. Donors will also be honored by having their name placed on a plaque to be displayed in a historic gallery in the new Camden High School.
The Castle on Hill is currently in the process of being torn down, and a new $136 million Camden High School will be built in its place, set to open in 2021.
There are four fundraising tiers offered:
$500 to $5,000: Named on a plaque honoring all contributors to be displayed in a historic-gallery at the new Camden High School.
$5,001 to $15,000: Named on a plaque honoring all contributors to be displayed in a historic gallery at the new Camden High School. Provided an honorary brick from the original Camden High School tower.
$15,001 to 100,000: Named on a plaque honoring all contributors to be displayed in a historic gallery at the new Camden High School. Provided an honorary brick from the original Camden High School tower A “seat” named on the renovated bleachers.
Over $100,001: Named on a plaque honoring all contributors to be displayed in a historic gallery at the new Camden High School. Provided an honorary brick from the original Camden High School tower. A “seat” named on the renovated bleachers. Naming a component of the Camden High School athletic complex in the contributor’s honor [details subject to mutual agreement between contributor and the Camden City School District].
Interested donors can visit www.camdenschoolsfoundation.org or call Camden High School Athletic Director Mark Phillips at 856-966-5100 to donate.