West Marine opens Blue Future spring grant cycle

On Friday, April 1, West Marine began accepting applications for its 2016 BlueFuture Fund grants. The spring grant cycle will run through May 1, with the names of grant recipients to be determined by June 1 and publicly announced no later than June 6.

Encouraged to apply are nonprofit, community-based organizations that teach sailing, powerboating, fishing or boatbuilding skills, foster aquatic sustainability and conservation practices and encourage learning in the marine sciences. The $1,500 grants are given without restriction; grant recipients are free to use the funds as they see fit.

“No one understands the needs of a community better than those who live and work there,” says Lindsey Johnson, West Marine’s director of communications. “We consider our grant recipients to be our partners. By listening to what they have to say and supporting their ongoing efforts to foster waterlife adventure, education and recreation among young people, we know that we can make a real difference in the lives of America’s youth.”

West Marine created its nonprofit BlueFuture Fund in June 2015 to provide this critical grant funding to charities across North America. According to Johnson, the initiative was a perfect fit for the Waterlife Outfitter.

“We’ve always been a company for people who love the water, by people who love the water,” she explains. “We want to make sure young people have the same opportunities we’ve had, opportunities that can have such a transformative and lasting effect.”

West Marine will conduct three annual in-store fundraisers in 2016 to support the growth of its BlueFuture Fund. One fundraising event will be held in conjunction with National Safe Boating Week in May, the second commemorates World Oceans Day in June, and the third is its “Month of Giving” in December. The fund also encourages year-round donations through its website.

“We seek to grow the BlueFuture Fund and broaden its reach across North America simply because the more grant funds we have available, the more organizations we can help,” Johnson says. “And, the more children and teens we can impact.”

The BlueFuture Fund is a donor-advised fund through the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz. All donations are fully tax-deductible, and twice each year West Marine awards grants to worthy nonprofit organizations across North America. These much needed funds allow community-based groups to provide scholarships, purchase new equipment, maintain staff, add programs and more.

To learn more about West Marine’s 2016 BlueFuture grants and to submit an application, and for detailed information about the company’s BlueFuture initiative and how you can help, visit www.westmarine.com/BlueFuture.

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