Great Give Day is May 15, 2024 🎁

Camp supporters will have an opportunity on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, to bring the campaign total even closer to the $2 million goal. Ewalu is participating in Great Give Day, a 24-hour online fundraising event sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (CFGD). Donations made online May 15 at  will go toward the “Cedar at 60” campaign. Throughout the day, donors can help the Christian ministry qualify for special bonus prizes and unlock challenges, funded by CFGD and friends of Ewalu, that will boost the total even more.

Challenges for May 15 include:

  • A $30,000 dollar-for-dollar match from an anonymous donor, to help us reach our goal
  • A $1,000 bonus for getting 50 donors during the Power Hour, noon to 1 p.m. Central time
  • A $1,000 bonus from Decorah Lutheran Youth to get donors from 15 different states or countries during the day
  • A $1,000 “Alumni Challenge” to be dedicated to the decade with the most staff alumni donors (the winning decade’s donors will each be mailed an “Alumni if Ewalu” sticker)
  • PLUS, Ewalu can qualify for special bonuses from the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and the Clayton County Foundation for the Future!

Major Gift Update 🎁

Ewalu Camp & Retreat Center announced May 6, 2024, the largest gift to date for the Cedar Lodge renovation project, bringing the fundraising total within striking distance of its $2 million goal. The $500,000 gift from Candy and Richard Altorfer of Cedar Rapids, with $400,000 going to the Cedar Lodge project and $100,000 to the camp’s endowment, puts the “Cedar at 60” campaign at $1.7 million raised, paving the way for the project to break ground in 2025.

“We are overjoyed and grateful to Candy and Rich for this incredible gift to Ewalu,” said Frank Johnson, executive director at Ewalu. “We give thanks to God for all the campers, school groups, young adult summer staff, alumni, adult enrichment attendees, and rental partners who will reap the benefits of a new, modernized, beautiful Cedar Lodge. With this gift, we are eager to make the new Cedar Lodge a reality as soon as possible.”

The Altorfers’ gift honors Candy Altorfer’s late grandparents, Vernon and Hilda Schuchmann of Manchester, and Candy’s parents, Deleva Grimm Stevenson and the late Gordon Grimm, who were instrumental in the construction of Cedar Lodge in 1962. “My father was one of the builders of Cedar Lodge,” said Candy. “They had a volunteer group of men from First Lutheran Church in Manchester. The women of the group would come and bring food to feed them, because there was no kitchen yet.” Fittingly, the Altorfers’ gift to the campaign means the camp can plan for construction in 2025 to update the same building that Candy’s parents helped build more than 60 years ago.


Update on Solar Panel Project ☀️

Thanks to an outpouring of financial support, the Board of Directors has approved building the solar array! Building this part of the Cedar at 60 project will have an immediate impact, as we can begin saving on our energy bills.

The solar panels were installed in March 2024, in a spot behind Hickory Lodge where some trees have been cleared. The array will power Hickory and the renewed Cedar Lodge. We will also have net-metering, which means payback for extra power.

Special thanks to the many donors who met our Christmas Challenge! An anonymous donor has made a special gift of $10,000 to the Cedar at 60 campaign because YOU met the challenge! If you “adopted” one of our 80 solar panels, you will be able to monitor its production through a special app. We’ll let you know more as we connect the panels in spring 2024!

Campaign Logo Cedar at 60-02

A campaign to renovate Cedar Lodge
& strengthen Ewalu’s mission

Regeneration for Every Generation!

After 60 years of service, Cedar Lodge needs some loving care so that it will continue to serve the people of eastern Iowa for generations to come. The Generation to Generation: Cedar at 60 campaign will provide necessary improvements to Cedar Lodge and ensure that every guest, camper, and staff member feels welcome and cared for.

Time Takes a Toll

Now, more than ever, accessible and adequate facilities have an impact on who can experience camp and how we can serve them.

Today, Cedar Lodge, the beloved icon at the center of Ewalu, struggles to provide the hospitable welcome we want to share.

  • People living with disabilities have to go to the Creation Center in order to find an accessible restroom.
  • Stricter health codes and the increasing dietary requirements of Ewalu’s guests tax the old kitchen equipment. Dining space can be confining and difficult to navigate with large groups.
  • Conference and retreat leaders now require internet access and other technologies for programs.
  • The damp, musty conditions of the lower level must be addressed for the health and well-being of the summer staff and all who use this space.

Paul Frantsen

“Over the years, Cedar Lodge has provided a welcome space for all kinds of camp activities, but the well-used building is in dire need of an upgrade. After spending many an hour repairing the decades-old plumbing, heating, lighting, insulation, kitchen appliances, and exterior effects, the plans to renovate it are very exciting. The time has come to give this gem of Ewalu a facelift and bring it into the 21st century.”

Paul Frantsen, Property Director

With Your Help...

Cedar Lodge will be redesigned & updated to provide:

Greater Hospitality

  • ADA-accessible restrooms on the main floor
  • Additional space for camp gatherings and worship
  • Air conditioning for the hottest muggy Iowa days
  • Technology upgrades for retreats and conferences

More efficient food service and dining experience

  • Remodeling and expanding the kitchen for higher food production capacity and to better serve guests with food restrictions and allergies
  • Enhancing food preparation capabilities for the Outpost, off-site and decentralized programming.
  • Redesigning the dining hall layout to streamline serving and seat more people comfortably

Enhanced living conditions for summer staff

  • A new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system designed to address the longtime moisture issues in the lower level
  • Remodeled restrooms on the lower level and new shower areas
  • A remodeled break room for summer staff to rest and rejuvenate during personal time

Improved environmental stewardship

  • Increased energy efficiency and reduced costs for appliances and HVAC system
  • New solar energy collectors to power the building (and potentially sell energy back to the electric company or share it with other nearby camp buildings)

Moving Forward Faithfully

Ewalu’s Board of Directors has approved a campaign goal of $2 million to make these necessary changes to Cedar Lodge.

Thanks to you, our faithful and generous stewards, Ewalu has recently retired all of its long-term debt! With this firm financial footing, all board members have pledged already to the campaign and together have met 10% of the goal.

Before we break ground, however, the Board has resolved to meet the following benchmarks:

  • 90% of the $2 million campaign goal in commitments
  • 75% of the $2 million campaign goal in funds received in-hand

The improvements to Cedar Lodge will promote Ewalu’s sustainability. The benchmarks will help to ensure its financial stability.

With construction costs increasing due to both supply-chain issues and general inflation trends, the total cost of this project is in flux. If necessary, it will be designed in two phases. We seek your support to allow us to proceed promptly.


Make a gift from your IRA – CLICK HERE for details

Make a gift of stocks/bonds or other assets – CLICK HERE for details

Frank Johnson

“What an amazing time for Ewalu! These much-needed updates to Cedar Lodge will help us live more fully into our mission to connect the Word of God with the world of God. Come, be involved in what God is doing next at Ewalu!”

Frank Johnson, Executive Director

Plans & Renderings

Click below to see the architect’s plans and renderings for Cedar Lodge.

“We have watched several generations enjoying Cedar Lodge. Our love for Ewalu’s ministry compels us to renew and restore this landmark. Please join us now in this effort!”

Harry and Elle Blobaum

Mark and Jill Davidson

Campaign Co-Chairs

Blobaums portrait
Mark and Jill Davidson photo

Cedar Lodge Through the Years