Camperships and Scholarships Named for Beloved Community Leaders

Claire Lynch

The traditional school year provides childcare for working parents as it educates and socializes their grade-level kids. But in the summer months when schools are closed, some families struggle to finance available childcare options such as camp. Similarly, daycare or preschool for younger children can be cost-prohibitive.

Fisherman’s Mark, a nonprofit social services agency in Lambertville, provides aid to such families. It administers two pools of funding dedicated to defraying the cost of preschool at the Lambertville Academy and through the summer camp program of the City of Lambertville’s Park and Recreation Commission at the Lambertville Public School.

The first of these funds memorializes B.J. Petty, Fisherman’s Mark’s founding Executive Director, who died in July of 2021. Her leadership, courage, and determination ensured the success of the organization for over thirty years. Through the B.J. Petty Scholarship Fund, children who qualify for free and reduced lunch are eligible for this tuition assistance to Lambertville Academy.

The second fund memorializes community leader and philanthropist Jim Hamilton, known throughout Lambertville and beyond for his talents as a designer and chef. Among the many community causes he began, supported, or led was his passion project: the redesign and revitalization of Ely Memorial Park, Lambertville’s largest public green space. The Jim Hamilton Fund includes a $50,000 endowment earmarked for “camperships” at the Lambertville Public School through the City of Lambertville. “My father was always encouraging young people to follow their dreams,” said his daughter, Melissa Hamilton. “He would be so delighted to know the funds were being used in this way.”

“Because of B.J. Petty and Jim Hamilton, up to a dozen children will have the opportunity to attend preschool or summer camp,” said Jennifer Williford, the current Executive Director of Fisherman’s Mark. “It’s a significant – and joyous – legacy. Fisherman’s Mark is proud and grateful to the funders for putting their trust in us.”

If you are interested in supporting summer camps, pre-school, the food pantry, or any of Fisherman’s Mark’s other programs, visit their website: