Sail America Pledges $50,000 to Winds of Freedom Cause

The board of directors of Sail America, the U.S. trade association for the sailing industry, in early October pledged $50,000 to its recently launched The Winds of Freedom initiative to aid victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., during its biannual general membership meeting at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland.

Bentley Collins, marketing manager for Sabre Yachts and a member of the Sail America Board of Directors, is spearheading the association’s efforts. Collins challenged the Sail America membership to donate generously to the fundraising cause, in the hopes of reaching a minimum goal of $250,000. Collins said the fundraising drive runs through December, 2001, with the final donation amount and specific charitable organization to be announced during Atlantic Sail Expo, January 24-27, 2002. "Freedom is a word that epitomizes the sailing lifestyle--it’s what we’re all about," said Collins. "As sailors and as an industry, we need to unite together in one voice to help those in need and to stand up for what we value most as Americans."

Contributors are urged to get creative in their respective fundraising efforts. Besides basic financial donations--which will be accepted via check or credit card through Sail America’s administrative offices--Collins shared some of the concepts companies are incorporating to underwrite this industry-wide effort.

"One of our major industry boatbuilders was planning to earmark money for prizes at an owners’ regatta and invite owners to apply it toward donations," Collins said. "Another talked about linking The Winds of Freedom logo on their website to Sail America and inviting customers to donate directly. Another boatbuilder was planning to take a flat dollar amount for every boat sold over the next few months and give this to our initiative. We’re totally open as to the specific type of fundraising program and encourage individuals and corporate members to promote whatever works best for them."

If Sail America members have previously made a corporate or individual donation of any sort prior to the announcement of The Winds of Freedom initiative, Collins requests that such contributions be communicated to Sail America for inclusion in the fundraising effort. "We hope our members will give generously--every dollar counts," said Collins. "We have an opportunity to make a real difference and to be counted. I hope everyone will rise to the occasion and participate in this extremely worthwhile cause."

For more information, or to make a donation via check or credit card, contact Sail America Executive Director Scot West at (401 ) 841-0900; e-mail or write him at Sail America, 850 Aquidneck Avenue, Unit B-4, Middletown, Rl 02842. Checks should be made payable to The Winds of Freedom fund.