MINNEAPOLIS — The MRAA Educational Foundation has exceeded its goal of raising $20,000 in 2014 to provide financial support for education, training and professional development in the recreational marine trades. The foundation hit its fundraising goal during the recent Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, which took place Nov. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla.
Immediately following close of MDCE, the foundation received another contribution that pushed MRAA beyond its initial $20,000 goal, and it continues to receive additional donations as the New Year approaches.
“We are inspired by the generosity that allowed the foundation to reach this critical milestone in 2014,” says Liz Walz, MRAA director of education and executive director of the foundation. “By contributing to the foundation’s award and scholarship funds, donors are helping to grow and develop the marine industry’s workforce, thus building a brighter future for the boating business. A big ‘thank-you’ to all of those that offered their support.”
Prior to the start of MDCE, the MRAA Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation, had raised $7,400 in 2014. Donations secured at and immediately following the November event topped $12,000, pushing the foundation over its goal and helping fund several key educational opportunities.
“Donations made to the MRAA Educational Foundation directly contribute to the education and training of this industry’s exceptional crop of current and prospective professionals,” says Ed Lofgren, MRAA Educational Foundation Board president and CEO of 3A Marine Service Inc. in Hingham, Mass. “The foundation relies on these contributions not only to help marine retailers find qualified people, but also to develop them. Training and education is paramount in our industry, and the foundation exists to ensure marine retail professionals and the many that follow are the best equipped to provide an exceptional customer sales and service experience.”
During the 2014 MDCE, the MRAA Educational Foundation handed out nine scholarships and awards that together represent $34,120 worth of technical training and professional development. They include the following programs:
- Three MRAA Technical Scholarships, which are awarded to marine schools that train students for careers in the marine industry
- Two ABYC Scholarships, which cover the tuition for one recipient to attend ABYC’s Introduction to Basic Marine Electric & Corrosion Protection and for another recipient to attend one of ABYC’s Certification Courses
- The Duane Spader Leadership Development Scholarship, which covers the tuition for one recipient to attend Spader Business Management’s Leadership Development Program
- Two Kevin Lodder Scholarships, which cover the tuition and provide a travel stipend for each recipient to attend Spader Business Management’s Total Management 1 Workshop
- The Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award, which is presented to an outstanding woman who is actively involved in the marine industry