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Thursday September 18, 2014


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    Matthew Hoidal, 39
    Executive Director
    Camp Sunshine


    Matthew Hoidal discovered Camp Sunshine in 1999, when he and his brother Dave were planning to run the Disney Marathon and wanted to fund-raise for a worthy charity in doing so.

    Inspired by the Sebago Lake camp’s mission and by his visits there, Hoidal in 2001 organized the Miracle Marathon, in which he and nine other athletes combined to run 1,600 miles from Florida to Maine in support of Camp Sunshine. Their 12-day, tagteam odyssey brought in more than $90,000.

    That same year, at the invitation of founders Anna Gould and Larry Gould, Hoidal became Camp Sunshine’s executive director. “I think that they sensed that the camp was a commitment and a passion for me,” Hoidal says.

    Today, his longtime friend, college classmate and Forty Under 40 nominator Jonathan Nass notes: “In 2011, Matt celebrated a decade of service at Camp Sunshine, during which the organization has transformed into a year-round national retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.”

    “During his tenure, Camp Sunshine has expanded from four weeklong sessions of camp each year, to 25 sessions in 2011. The number of families served annually has increased from just over 100, to more than 750. Meanwhile, the volunteer force has expanded from 500 annually, to over 2,500. Volunteer hours have increased from 15,000 annually to over 70,000.”

    Hoidal, for his part, protests goodnaturedly that “all the heavy lifting had been done, fortunately, when I arrived. The new camp had just opened, a great team was in place, and we were in a good position to expand.”

    The growth continues: “In 2012, we expect to serve as many as 800 families, which basically works out to about 3,200 family members, over 27 sessions, which we host year-round.” Hoidal’s marathon-running has been on the back burner – he and his wife, Jen, who live in Falmouth, have six children ages 8 months to 11 years.

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