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Statement from Robert E. “Teddy” Turner IV, board chair, S.C. Maritime Foundation

The South Carolina Maritime Foundation is not immune to the downturn of the economy. In fact, the organization is more vulnerable as most of its funding is dependent upon charitable giving. The construction of the Spirit of South Carolina and its operation have resulted in significant costs. We have been in discussions for some time now with all of our creditors, including TD Bank and Huguenot Square, trying to work through these difficult times.

As an organization, we began with The Spirit of South Carolina and have matured and broadened our vision. In the process, we have become more focused on shore-based programs aimed at at-risk youth and less focused on the operation of a large tall ship and the associated costs. Given the financial strain of the ship’s operation and our shift in mission, the board has made a decision to attempt to sell The Spirit of South Carolina and find a suitable home for the ship in the coming months. We hope to avoid dissolution of the organization and to be in a position to move forward with our broader mission of curbing the drop-out rate in South Carolina.

It is our intent and strong desire to continue to provide services to the children in Charleston who so desperately need them. However, without significant financial help, we will not be able to continue our programs beyond this academic year. There is not currently funding to finish the programs already in place for the remainder of the school year, but we feel it would be devastating to the children involved in these programs to leave them in the middle of the year.

For more information, or to donate, please contact SCMF at (843) 722-1030, or visit www.scmaritime.org.

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