$500K Gift to MDA Summer Camp Will Honor Robert Bennett Legacy

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by Mary Chapman |

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Muscle Up!

For more than 20 years, Robert (Bob) Bennett was a steadfast leader and supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). To honor his legacy, the Robert M. & Marjie A. Bennett Foundation has donated $500,000 to the Los Angeles-area MDA Summer Camp.

Located in Orange County, Calif., the camp will now be called the MDA Robert & Marjie Bennett Foundation Summer Camp. The MDA recently honored the gift with a presentation at the camp to Bennett’s family, including his wife Marjie, and daughter Kelly Bennett.

Bennett was MDA president from 1995 to 2001, and board chairman from 2001 to 2005. He became an emeritus board member in 2014. A television industry pioneer, Bennett also established the MDA Love Network, comprised at one point of 200 television stations participating in the annual MDA Labor Day Telethon.

“Bob played a tremendous role in helping to drive MDA’s mission forward during his time of leadership and engagement,” Lynn O’Connor Vos, MDA president and CEO, said in a press release.

“Under his leadership, MDA was involved in testing the first drug treatment ever approved for ALS, and other breakthrough research projects that today are fueling momentum toward treatments and cures for MDA families. We are honored to have his family continue to support our organization through this generous gift that will help our MDA youth continue to enjoy MDA Summer Camp.”

Offered annually at more than 50 sites across the nation at no cost to families, the camp gives children with muscular dystrophy, ages 8 to 17, an opportunity to uncover new interests while making friends and gaining self-confidence and independence. It also gives parents and caregivers time off from their responsibilities.

Often called “the best week of the year” by campers, the experience includes arts and crafts, games, dancing, horseback riding, sports, and traditional camp events. The overnight camps are staffed with medical personnel and trained volunteer counselors.

The foundation’s gift will enhance programming at the Orange, Calif., camp, attended by more than 100 youths. It’s being held this year, from July 8-13, at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center. Situated on 200 acres, the space includes swimming pools, bungalows, and a nature center.

“Dad went to heaven two years ago, but he would be proud to know that through his foundation, he will be providing happiness, fun and good memories for the children who will attend MDA Summer Camp,” Kelly Bennett said. “It’s a privilege to carry on my dad’s legacy through our involvement with the camp.”

The MDA works to transform the lives of those affected by muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and related neuromuscular diseases.