IYRS receives $500,000 in grants

NEWPORT, R.I. – The International Yacht Restoration School, a educational institution and center for maritime restoration based Newport, R.I., has received two $250,000 grants dedicated toward the school's expansion into the Aquidneck Mill Building, a 30,000-square-foot structure that dates to 1831, IYRS reported in a release yesterday.

The 1772 Foundation and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation have each awarded $250,000 toward the restoration of the building.

"Restoration of the Mill Building is essential if we are to accommodate the growing demand for IYRS's educational programs in yacht restoration," said James Russell, IYRS's vice president, Development. "These remarkable leadership gifts are just the sort of strong and demonstrable endorsements we need at this point in the campaign."

The van Beuren Charitable Foundation (Middletown, R.I.), is a family foundation established in 1986, focused primarily on promoting the well-being of Rhode Island's Newport County community.

The 1772 Foundation, with offices in Pomfret, Conn. and Elizabeth, N.J., has focused on supporting historic preservation projects nationwide. In 2004, the Foundation's charitable giving was distributed to entities in 15 states. Its grant to IYRS represents its largest gift to date in the state of Rhode Island.

"The trustees of 1772 believe the school is providing their students with skills that are now all but lost," said Stanton Geary, president of the 1772 Foundation. "As technology has eclipsed the art of boat building, we believe the skills of the master craftsman and ship's carpenter should be maintained for future generations. This is indeed a worthwhile cause."

The Aquidneck Mill, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was acquired by IYRS in 1995 in the hope of restoring the building for future school use. The physical restoration of the building is projected to take two years and cost $6 million. IYRS hopes to break ground on the Mill Building project in 2005.

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