Ruth Gottscho was 15 years old when she died of kidney disease in 1960 – before dialysis or transplantation was widely available. That same year, her parents, Eva and Ira, founded the Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation (RGKF) to help other New Jersey kidney patients. For several years, the RGKF helped purchase home dialysis machines for families who could not afford this life-saving equipment. It also provided other services and equipment to New Jersey kidney patients.
In 1973, when Medicare began paying for much of the treatment kidney patients needed, the RGKF focused on finding a way to help children with kidney disorders attend summer camp – a dream of Ruth’s that wasn’t possible during her lifetime.
Eva Gottscho (Ira had died in 1971), was determined to find a camp that would be willing to support her idea of integrating kidney kids with regular campers. She approached a number of camps but was turned down repeatedly. Then she and several board members met with the Frost Valley YMCA camp. Its CEO and board of trustees thought it was a terrific idea! With the help of the foundation and equipment donations from dialysis machine manufacturers, the camp established a dialysis center, and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore enthusiastically agreed to staff it. To date, the foundation has paid medical and camp expenses for more than 1,800 kidney campers.
Eva died in 2009, but her legacy remains very much alive. Judy Gottscho Eichinger, Eva’s daughter and Ruth’s sister, is at the helm of the foundation. The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation is now a charitable fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ). We are benefiting from the Community Foundation’s philanthropic expertise, administrative support, and technical know-how to ensure your donation has the greatest possible impact. Judy and other long-time supporters have formed an advisory committee at CFNJ to make sure Ruth’s dream of sleep-away camp remains a reality for children with kidney disorders.