About JACF

Mission Statement: About John Austin Cheley Foundation

The John Austin Cheley Foundation funds need-based camperships for high potential youth to attend extended-stay wilderness summer camps that have a proven track record of positively impacting youth development.


The John Austin Cheley Foundation was established in 1989 to honor the memory of John Austin (Jack) Cheley to help fulfill his dream of making a summer camp experience available to deserving youth who could not otherwise afford it. Jack Cheley was executive director and the driving force of Cheley Colorado Camps in Estes Park, Colorado from 1941 to 1981, and he continued as an advisor until his death in 1987.

Jack was known for his positive outlook on the future of young people. He was highly regarded in the camping field and was often called upon for assistance and advice on camp issues at the national level. Because of Jack’s interest in people and his desire that young people have a positive summer camp experience, friends and alums of Cheley Camps organized the John Austin Cheley Foundation following his death.

Over its history, the Foundation has developed funding opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth to attend high quality accredited American Camp Association residential camps. Almost 1000 camperships have been awarded since the foundation’s inception to advance youth toward a successful future through attending extended stay, wilderness summer camp programs around the United States.