From the President
Support Your Passion
There has been a flurry of successful fundraising activity in December and January for the Annual Fund and special projects, and of course, we are thrilled by the news of the $2 million grant from the State of Connecticut in support of the Thompson Exhibition Building. Our team of talented fundraisers, led by Vice President Elisabeth Saxe, never rests in their search for generous supporters of the Museum’s mission and its many needs.
The Annual Fund appeals to well over 2,000 donors who seek to help Mystic Seaport meet its general operating needs each and every year. Revenue generated from admission to the Museum, membership sales, special programs, the Mystic Seaport Store, endowment income, and other revenue sources does not equal the cost of running our complex and diverse organization. Thus, we ask our members, foundations, and friends to make unrestricted gifts to help us meet our operating needs, compensate our staff, and provide dynamic visitor experiences and programming. I’m happy to say that we are on a pace to surpass the record we set last year with the Annual Fund, as our donors state their gratitude for the experiences we provide, the collections we manage, and the quality of our stewardship.
In addition to meeting our operating needs (every year!), we must also raise capital funds to support other major priorities for the Museum, which includes major projects beyond the operating budget, such as restoring vessels like the Charles W. Morgan and the steamboat Sabino; building new structures; replacing docks; developing new programs like Mystic Seaport for Educators; and addressing deferred maintenance across the campus. For these projects, we cultivate donors whom we hope are willing to support one or more of our priorities. Their gifts are designated for these projects and cannot be used to meet our operating needs. We reach out to individual and corporate donors who have demonstrated a particular interest in an area of the Museum, and to foundations whose stated mission is to fund very specific kinds of programs or infrastructure. And finally, we apply for State and Federal funding where such funding aligns with our particular priorities.
Our campaign to restore the Sabino is a good example. We have received support from one State agency and two Federal agencies and numerous individuals. In more than one occasion, we approached donors to support Sabino and they declined, only then to pledge support of a vessel more important to them, such as the L.A. Dunton. Examples such as these are endless, as are the needs of the Museum. As a result, when we sit down with donors, we are prepared to talk about multiple projects with the hope that one will pique their interest and that they will designate support restricted for that project. It’s important to remember that for capital projects like Sabino, no operating funds are used.
Over the years, how fortunate we have been to count on passionate donors who generously support our operating needs and our capital needs. As an organization with diverse opportunities, there is virtually something for everyone. I encourage you to find your passion at Mystic Seaport and support the Museum as best you can. We all benefit from your philanthropy in the same manner that you benefit from the generosity of others!