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Clea Newman, daughter of Hollywood legend Paul Newman, has devoted much of her adult life to continuing her father’s charitable legacy.
She was only a high school graduate in the late ’80s when she first became involved with her father’s charity, SeriousFun, which was then known as the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. Her journey began as a development associate at the camp, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut, near the Newman family home in Westport, and has seen her bring light into the lives of over 127,000 children who are suffering from serious illnesses.
The organisation was set up by the actor after a personal friend of Paul Newman’s became terminally ill. When Newman (Sr) would spend time with his friend in the hospital, he noticed the amount of children there, and became impassioned to help them in some way.
In an interview with TODAY, Clea Newman attests this as being the moment when her father’s life would change forever;
“This put a fire in his belly to make sure that kids suffering from serious illness are able to kick back at our camps and raise a little hell and get back to being a kid.”
It was from the Newman’s Own condiment company that Newman used the initial funds to build the project. The company, which donates 100% of its profits to charity (after tax), was used to generate the initial funding. After her father’s death in 2008 that Clea Newman took the reins of SeriousFun, ensuring that her father’s work would not only continue, but grow. “I got bit by the bug,” she told TODAY. “It’s kind of impossible not to when you go spend time with the kids,” adding that her father was the one who encouraged her to become more involved by first becoming a camp counsellor by telling her; “You need to go be with the kids to really tell the story.”
With father’s day coming up this weekend, Clea Newman was feeling particularly reflective in her interview;
“I hope he would be proud of me, but I also know he had a very tough work ethic,” Newman said. “I think he’d pat me on the shoulder and say, ‘You got a really nice start sweetie, keep going.'” While she thinks about her dad every day when carrying on his legacy, she plans to say a special toast to him this Father’s Day, on June 19, while spending time with family. “It’s truly an honor to be a part of my father’s legacy,” she said, “and to move forward with these extraordinary camps that were my dad’s vision.”