So you’reready to make a difference, but there are so many charitable organizations toget involved with. Before you jump in feet first, a little research can helpyou decide which organization’s cause you are most passionate about. Here aresome charitable organizations within the marine industry that are worth yourtime and hard-earned cash.
Createdby former Capt. Mark Drewelow in 2006, Yacht Aid Global’s mission is to “changethe world without changing course.” YAG coordinates with volunteer vessels travelingto third world or disaster-ridden countries that will take supplies to deliveralong their journey. To date, about 50 deliveries have been made by yachts inthe 150- to 250-foot range to locations such as Indonesia, French Polynesia,Alaska, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Chile and Brazil. Thisis all done by word of mouth; talking with captains and crew, determining wherethere is a need, working with volunteer ambassadors who organize the transitionof materials. Typically, the deliveriesare of primary school supplies, pencils, paper, but they have also includeditems such as food, cooking supplies and medical aid. “In most of these area,there is no concept of charitable giving, we and loosely formed organizationslike us, are the only source of aid. I’ve had people crying on the phone [because]they can’t believe we’ve found them,” says Drewelow. For more information onYachtAid Global, go to http://www.yachtaidglobal.org/
JohnWeller has been a yacht broker for 35 years, but his lifelong commitment tohelping those in need was the catalyst behind Freedom Waters, an organizationWeller co-founded in 2006.
In aneffort to bring the less fortunate to the sea, Freedom Waters takes out disabledveterans and those suffering from cancer and other terminal illnesses onvessels whose owners, captains and crew have volunteered to take the specialguests out for a day on the water. They work closely with the Joe Di MaggioHospital in Hollywood, Florida. Freedom Waters also has specially designedsmall sailboats, made in Australia that they use to take handicap children outsailing. http://freedomwatersfoundation.org/
Oceana isthe largest international Ocean Protection and Restoration Environmentaladvocacy group dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans and itssea life. Celebrity supporters such as Ted Danson, January Jones, PierceBrosnan and Morgan Freeman help keep a high profile for this organization but theirteams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates also have been inthe spotlight for pushing successful policy changes that reduce pollution andprotect our oceans.
One oftheir major efforts and success has been controlling the destructive bottomtrawl fishing, which damages the healthy ocean ecosystems by tearing up theocean bottom. Oceana also has focused on the dwindling shark population.
To fundall these efforts requires a substantial monetary commitment; fortunately its fundraising events draw a crowd. One of their most fabulous events is the Bald’Oceana held at the Monaco Rendezvous with co-sponsor Boat International Media.www.oceana.org
MarineIndustry Cares Foundation is a non-profit group in the maritime community thatraises money for local charities. Its annual Spin-A-Thon fundraiser has provided supportfor Kids in Distress (KIDs), a Fort Lauderdale program that seeks to providestability in the lives of children who have been neglected or abused.
“Ourfoundation was formed after a bunch of disorganized maritime people cametogether to do well in their local community in Fort Lauderdale,” explains oneof the founders, Peter Hult, vice president of insurance brokers MHG. “It’sallowed the local maritime community the opportunity to bond and do somethinggood and feel good about themselves. With all the buzz and excitement werealized to continue we really had to formally organize ourselves.” This year’sSpin-A-Thon event will take place on May 20, 2011, and aims to raise $250,000 for KIDs. For more information aboutthe Marine Industry Cares Foundation or to get involved with the 2011Spin-A-Thon, go to www.marineindustrycares.org.
The SaveOur Seas Foundation warns that we are at a crossroad; our actions in the next10 years will have an impact on the future of our seas and planet. TheFoundation has identified five threats, which have become the focus oftheir work around the world.
Since2003, Save Our Seas has sponsored more than 150 projects in 42 countries. Alocal Fort Lauderdale project, Shark DNA Forensics, is a result of the growingmarket for shark fins. The overall objective of the project is to gatherinformation about sharks in an effort to improve conservation. One hundredpercent of any donation goes to research and conservation.
Now thatyou’ve had the chance to get to know some of the marine industries’ charityfront runners, take a deep breath, remind yourself how much we enjoy life atsea and consider making out a check to make a difference. We all need to do our part.
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