Raising Hopes At Sunrise Camp


Farmingdale financial advisor donates grant to nonprofit

Marc Eisenshtat represented Sunrise Day Camps during his recent cross-country vacation.
                     (Photo courtesy of Marc Eisenshtat)

When Northwestern Mutual Financial recently recognized Marc Eisenshtat as a 2020 Community Service Award winner, the nearly 20-year financial advisor who works out of the Farmingdale office donated the $30,000 grant that came with it to the Sunrise Association, an organization that provides gratis summer camp and year-round programs to children with cancer and their siblings. Eisenshtat’s involvement with Sunrise Day Camp came out of his wanting to support a friend’s son who was battling pediatric cancer.

“My friend’s son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2014 and he was 12 years old,” Eisenshtat said. “He got diagnosed and these friends of ours didn’t need money to help their son. They needed our love and support and we didn’t really know how to do that. Other than us calling to ask if everything was okay—no, everything wasn’t okay. It’s a weird call. Like, our son is having radiation, chemo, he’s sick and we’re scared. How many times a day can all of your friends call to ask how your kids are doing? Myself and a couple of other friends did what we could do to be with our friends. And that was getting involved with Sunrise. So me and a couple of friends started following our other friend around to different Sunrise events and board meetings. We got involved in their Sunrise Walks, which are held in June every year in Melville at the camp. So we did our first walk, joined their team and wore the t-shirts. At that time, we were just following in their footsteps.

Whatever they did and wherever they went, we went, just to support them, because that’s all we knew what to do, right?”
Eisenshtat’s involvement with the organization led to his becoming an event chair, planner, fundraiser and overall advocate.
“You don’t get involved with a walk-a-thon because you love to walk, you join because you love someone associated with the cause it supports,” he said. “I’m very proud to continue to partner with Sunrise—now, more than ever, it’s important to ensure more children can experience the joy and happiness brought by these camps.”

Marc Eisenshtat driving his orange jeep during 2019 Color Wars at Sunrise Day Camp

As a result of the global health crisis, Sunrise Association has adapted its programming for the upcoming season. The organization is introducing virtual, interactive day camps, offering both live and recorded content for children, siblings and parents. Participating campers will receive home packages filled with supplies and camp materials to allow them to fully engage in virtual activities and safely enjoy summer camp from home. Last year, Eisenshtat chaired one of the organization’s largest fund raisers—its annual SunriseWALKS event. The end result was that $1,032,000 was raised. He’s once again chairing the walk and the pandemic has found it transformed into the SunriseWALKS Virtual Campaign & Celebration, a June 28 fundraiser and interactive celebration featuring celebrity guests, surprise performances, and most importantly, families impacted by pediatric cancer. It’s enough of a priority that the Bellmore native and his family were rushing back from a month-long cross-country trip to ensure they returned home in time for the walk.

“I cannot take credit for what happened last year,” Eisenshtat said. “But the year that we were chairing the walk was the year it broke the $1 million mark and that was great. So the goal this year was to be over last year obviously, but they just got decimated. They lost millions of dollars because spring is when they have this huge golf outing, the walk—it’s the money they use to pay the staff, provide the busing and take care of the kids. It’s difficult to recoup that. But I’m happy to put myself out there because I do have this vast network of people that I know, love and care about and I think care about me, from clients and friends to acquaintances. Hopefully my voice is what gets people to click on a link. It does nothing for me. It’s not like my involvement in Sunrise is changing my life financially. It’s changing their life because of my life, which is what I love.”

Among the famous folks who participated were Ray Romano and recording artist Sky Katz. The total raised by this year’s SunriseWALKS was $672,872. And while the commitment to Sunrise for Eisenshtat and his family is all-consuming, it’s something they gladly do.
“I don’t know how to cure cancer and I don’t know if they can,” he said. “I don’t want to be involved with the politics therein—it’s above my pay grade. Let’s say you’re involved with some charity and at Thanksgiving dinner, your uncle says that he heard the executive director makes one million dollars or that money isn’t really going to research. Whatever kind of negative press or news there is about a charity, you can’t find any dirt on this one. It’s what I call a grassroots love machine. It’s all about love and joy. If there is one thing I want to be associated with and have a passion for it’s spreading love.”

Call 516-634-4199 or visit www.sunrisedaycamp-longisland.org to find out more about Sunrise Day Camp.

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