On Apr. 1, West Marine will begin accepting applications for its 2017 BlueFuture grants. The spring grant cycle will run through May 1, with the names of grant recipients to be announced by mid-month.
Encouraged to apply are nonprofit, community-based organizations that teach sailing, powerboating, fishing, paddling or surfing; provide boatbuilding instruction; foster aquatic sustainability and conservation practices; and encourage learning in the marine sciences. The $1,500 grants are given without restriction; in other words, grant recipients are free to use the funds as they see fit to operate their respective programs.
“We are dedicated to ensuring that every child has access to the water, regardless of circumstances,” said Lindsey Johnson, West marine’s director of communications. “We are a company for people who love the water, by people who love the water; we want to help provide America’s children, particularly those in underserved communities, with the same opportunities we’ve had.”
During the four-week grant cycle, interested applicants should visit www.westmarine.com/BlueFuture, click “Grants” and fill out and submit an online form. A team of West Marine judges will review the applications after the grant period closes on May 1 and announce the 25 winners in the next couple of weeks.
“All of us at West Marine are passionate about the BlueFuture program, and we’re always excited to see the applications we receive,” Johnson said. “We have so many worthy organizations in this country, with staff and volunteers working incredibly hard to meet the needs of their local communities. We’re honored to support their efforts as they seek to get even more young people on and around the water.”
West Marine created its nonprofit BlueFuture Fund in May 2015 to provide critical grant funding to charities across North America. The waterlife outfitter conducts three signature fundraisers each year to support the fund’s growth: One is in conjunction with National Safe Boating Week in May; the second commemorates World Oceans Day in June; and the third is the Month of Giving in December. It also encourages year-round donations through its website at westmarine.com/BlueFuture.
“The more money we raise, the more grants we can award, and that means having a greater impact,” Johnson said. “Essentially, supporting BlueFuture means you’re joining a nationwide movement to get kids out on the water in a variety of capacities — we encourage anyone who’s interested to consider making a contribution through our website or to visit one of our stores during a BlueFuture fundraiser. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a real difference, and it’s deeply appreciated.”
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 funds allow the 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.