Operation Sunshine was founded in 1968, when Victor Ehre, then-president of the Utica Mutual Insurance Company, suggested that there should be a community effort to send children in need to summer camp. The Utica newspapers at the time — the morning Daily Press and evening Observer-Dispatch — agreed to sponsor the effort, and Mason Taylor, the newspapers’ executive editor, dubbed it “Operation Sunshine.”
That first campaign raised $9,276 from local businesses and public donations, and helped send 292 youngsters to camp. The following Christmas, a second Operation Sunshine effort was created to reach out to families in need during the holiday season. That campaign raised $7,886 for 130 families.
In 2021, Operation Sunshine will be continuing to support families and children in the community as a fund of the Community Foundation.