Contributions That Matter

Philanthropy is defined in many ways, including acts of kindness, gifts from the heart, and actions that promote the general well-being of others. Whether it is a gift to a service organization, to victims of disasters like hurricanes, or to non-profits that provide for the general benefit of their communities, these acts of kindness and the inherent emotional satisfaction of doing so are what keep individual donors making these commitments year after year.

From its very first days in 1929, Mystic Seaport has depended to a large extent on the benevolent acts of its founders, loyal members, dedicated trustees, and talented staff. In fact, given that 50 percent of our current revenue is through what we refer to as “contributed revenue,” one can most certainly conclude that half of everything a visitor or member experiences every year at the Museum is a result of philanthropic acts, both large and small. Such giving from the heart takes many forms including the Annual Fund; bequests; endowment contributions, support for special projects, donated boats, and appreciated stock. Whatever the vehicle and for whatever the purpose every gift is critical to our ability to sustain our vast physical plant, to mount inspirational exhibitions, to teach thousands of young people the lessons of the sea, and to provide for the well-being of our staff. The results of such benevolence are not often that obvious, such as scholarships for the Joseph Conrad Overnight Sailing Camp, the care of our collections, and the research for exhibition development. Other projects are much more in the public eye, such as the recent completion of the steamboat Sabino restoration, the construction of the Thompson Exhibition Building, or new roofs on historic buildings.

With the summer behind us, we now enter the fourth quarter of our fiscal year. Over the next three months we will close out the Annual Fund, which is the unrestricted lifeblood of the institution. More than 2,000 donors annually give above and beyond their membership dues to help the Museum not only fulfill its mission, but to also accomplish annual goals that improve the visitor experience or protect the Museum’s significant assets. This year’s Annual Fund is budgeted at $1.8 million, and we are most grateful to the donors who have already made their commitment to support the Annual Fund to the best of their ability. I’m excited to share the great news that all new or increased gifts will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000 by Board Chairman Barclay Collins. I hope that this match provides additional inspiration to give generously.  PLEASE DONATE NOW!

If you have enjoyed the Museum this year, found our newsletters informative, or browsed through the Museum’s website, I encourage you to consider making a gift to the Annual Fund now. In doing your part for America’s leading maritime museum you will no doubt feel that sense of accomplishment and goodness that philanthropy brings. Further, when you visit the Museum in the future you will know that your extra support made a difference in ensuring that visitors like yourselves will continue to benefit from all we provide.

Also, in October the Museum holds its annual America and the Sea Gala, this year in New York City. This mission-driven event recognizes and individual or organization whose contributions to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American spirit and character. Like the Annual Fund, all the monies raised from the Gala event support Mystic Seaport programs, and each year, a special paddle-raise brings in funds to underwrite a specific need the Museum has that year. This year, the paddle-raise will support the ongoing curatorial needs of the internationally acclaimed Rosenfeld Collection of photography. Because the Gala is in New York City, we understand that access to the event can be a challenge. Therefore, our auction and the opportunity to participate in it, including the paddle-raise, is available online. BID NOW!

It is with great appreciation that I thank all who have participated in the philanthropic needs of Mystic Seaport in one form or another over the years. Whether it is volunteer hours, cash contributions, paying for work on the Children’s Museum, or scholarships for under-served children, all are critical to our ability to inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience.  We thank you!!

Steve White