Friends of SYS

October 27, 2014

Dear Friends of Sarasota Youth Sailing,

Sarasota Youth Sailing kicked off its 2014-2015 fiscal year on October 1st. Like virtually every other non-profit educational organization, we do not cover the cost of our programs from tuition and fees alone. In fact, tuition and fees only cover approximately 65% of our annual expenses, funding the costs of payroll for our staff. Fundraising and grants support all of our other program expenses, so we are asking for your help.

We have historically had strong annual support from the Sarasota Sailing Squadron and WCIND. Between these organizations we generate funds to cover about 10% of our expenses. In addition, the Buzzelli Fund has made significant contributions from time to time, which specifically support of our multihull program.

Fund raising events including the Sailfest Regatta, the High School Regatta, the Gear Swap, etc. provide approximately another 10% of our annual budget. In addition, we always welcome boats that are donated to the program.

We currently face the added challenge of replacing our 18 420s which are rapidly reaching the end of their useful lives. We support a club 420 racing program and host High School Sailing Teams from Sarasota High School, Riverview, Pine View, Manatee High and Sarasota Military Academy. We welcome teams from any area high school; however, we receive no financial support from the school districts. The total cost of replacing the 420s will be approximately $160,000, which we hope to accomplish over three years.

We will need to address our facilities and are beginning discussions with the Sailing Squadron about the options for renovating the existing building or constructing a new Education Center. We should have more to report on this by January.

After taking all of our sources of funds into account, we have a fund raising goal, for our 2014-2015 fiscal year, of $89,000. We have raised almost $23,000 so far. Our needs are divided as follows:

Target              Received          Need

Scholarship Fund                      $10,000              $250            $ 9,750

420 Replacement Fund              47,000             21,500           25,500

Annual Fund                                22,000              1,035             20,965

Donated boats                             10,000                   0                10,000

Total                                         $ 89,000            $22,785         $66,215


The Scholarship Fund is a new initiative, which will cover the cost of scholarships for participants who do not have the financial means to participate in our program without assistance. In addition, we hope to be able to provide financial assistance for regatta travel for those who otherwise would not be able to go to regional, national or international events.

The Annual Fund helps cover our overhead costs such as insurance, accounting fees, boat maintenance and gas for the coach boats, etc.

The Board of Directors of Sarasota Youth Sailing is committed to transparency. For the first time, we will be publishing an annual report with audited financial statements as soon as an audit of our year ending September 30, 2014 is completed. As a part of this effort, we are laying out our goals and will report on our progress on our website over the course of the year.

We are also instituting a new program of annual sponsorship separate and apart from our Sailfest sponsorship program. If you own a business or have friends that do and would like to discuss sponsorship packages, please contact us. We have just welcomed our first sponsor, Z Blok sunscreen.

Our most urgent need is to raise $47,000 for new 420s by December 15th. We have arranged for the sale of our six oldest boats and want to take advantage of year-end discounts from Laser Performance to replace them. We are currently almost half way to that goal with commitments from WCIND and The Ehrhart Family Foundation for the 420 fund. In addition, some of our Board members have also stepped up to kick off our fund raising drive.

The High School and Club 420 programs are planning a raffle for December 13th after the South Points Regatta, which is also the night of the Christmas Boat Parade. The proceeds of this event will be targeted to the purchase of 420s. Please contact Alana or Yvonne Jordan if you have suitable items you are willing to donate for the raffle.

We are very grateful to all of our supporters and take stewardship of your donations seriously. Last year we provided approximately 40,000 hours of instruction and several thousand additional hours of regatta sailing for our students. We were able to accomplish this at a total cost of $10 per hour, including buying and maintaining our fleet of boats and all overhead costs. Any of you that own a boat, will recognize the exceptional effectiveness of our program in delivering high quality instruction at a minimal cost.

Please give what you can to provide the amazing experience for children learning to sail and gaining invaluable life experiences through Sarasota Youth Sailing. Feel free to designate the use of funds as you see fit and we will honor your intentions.



Mark Liebel