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S.C. Maritime Foundation tall ships coming about to weather financial storm

Charleston, S.C. – The South Carolina Maritime Foundation is moving ahead to sell the Spirit of South Carolina and will work to find a home for the ship in the coming months.  However, the disposition of the sailing vessel will not impact the organization. The non-profit plans to stay the course with its broader mission of curbing the drop-out rate in South Carolina if additional donations and financial support for the organization continue.

The organization has been highly vulnerable, like many non-profits during the prolonged recession, since most of its funding is dependent upon charitable giving.  The construction of the Spirit of South Carolina and its operation resulted in significant costs.  Recently the lien holder, TD Bank, took action that led the board to the decision to sell the ship, thus freeing the organization of the costs associated with operating a tall ship. The board has been in discussions for some time now with all of its creditors, including TD Bank and Huguenot Square, and is working through the financial issues.

The S.C. Maritime Foundation began with the Spirit of South Carolina but has matured and broadened its vision, placing more focus on shore-based programs aimed at at-risk youth.  With this sale of the Spirit and support of the community, the organization will continue to provide services to at risk and other interested youth in Charleston.

The S.C. Maritime Foundation continues to seek donations, grants, and other funds to help it stay the course on its mission to cultivate tomorrow’s leaders. Robert “Teddy” E. Turner, IV, chairman of the board, noted, “the foundation remains committed to exposing students to the maritime world, creating educational enhancement opportunities, and challenging youth to become tomorrow’s leaders. 

However, without additional funding, we will not be able to continue our programs beyond this academic year.  Though there is not enough funding to finish the programs already in place for the remainder of the school year, we feel it would be devastating to the children involved in these programs to leave them in the middle of the year. That added to our decision to sell the Spirit.”

Since beginning programming in the summer of 2007, the S.C. Maritime Foundation has provided 279 educational programs to over 9,500 students from 14 school districts and 77 schools in South Carolina.  To date, more than 50 percent of the students served attend Title I schools in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Maritime Foundation (SCMF) was founded as a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in August 2000 by a group with passionate maritime interests. Its mission is to create opportunities for life-changing experiences through shipboard and land-based programming that train leaders for tomorrow’s communities.  For more information, or to donate, please contact SCMF at (843) 722-1030, or visit www.scmaritime.org.

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