It all begins with the St. Francis Sailing Foundation Mission Statement
The St Francis Sailing Foundation (StFSF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the mission to raise and grant money to deserving sailors and organizations that promote sailing, racing competition and maritime education.
The St Francis Sailing Foundation promotes competitive sailing and US Olympic Sailing Team development, with support of serious Olympic athletes, beginning Olympic hopefuls, and junior sailors. We provide grants to the US Olympic Sailing program and co-sponsor high performance youth training clinics.
Additionally, we support organizations that put thousands of underserved youth and disabled sailors on the water in enrichment programs that teach both sailing and life lessons utilizing sailing. Recent programs have also woven science, technology and math into the sailing experience.
How does the Foundation accomplish this worthy mission?
Under the leadership of founder and benefactor Tom Allen and continuing to the present, the Foundation appoints a Grants Committee that reviews every grant application and makes funding recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Grants Committee is comprised of StFSF Directors and Advisors who are active in the sailing community. Their credentials include former members of the US Olympic Team, Collegiate All-Americans, senior leaders of the StFYC, and leaders in the Bay Area sailing community. Not all are active racers. In order to keep appropriate separation between the StFYC and StFSF, non-StFYC members participate in Foundation grant reviews.
Each year the Grants Committee reviews the granting priorities of the prior year, the grants made, and how those grants fit into its priorities. Then the whole Foundation re-weights the priorities for the coming year. Consistent with our mission statement, the Foundation concentrates its grants on Bay Area applicants and young sailors. It judges all new grant requests on their merit, their priority category, and how the grant might contribute to the sailors’ or organization’s future success.
What are the Foundation’s current grant priorities?
- Active Olympic campaigners at the highest and at the development level
- Junior sailors, to help support competition at national/international events appropriate for their level
- Serious adult competitors in national and international events, including Match and Team Racing
- StFYC junior programs, including scholarships to its youth programs, High School sailing, outreach, and new programs that require seed money to prove their worth.
- Special youth training clinics such as:
- The recently completed high performance Laser, Radial, 29er clinic at StFYC in partnership with US Sailing
- The world’s first-ever youth kite foilboard training clinic coached by two-time Olympic medalist Mike Gebhardt, and
- The CISA windsurfing clinic
- Organizations, especially those that reach out to underprivileged youth sailors such as Treasure Island Sailing Center, Alameda County Sailing Center, SF Whaleboats and Sea Scouts, Pacific Coast Interscholastic (high school) Sailing Association, and Call of the Sea.
- US Sailing Gold Medal sponsorship in partnership with the StFYC and the America One Foundation
- Special regattas such as the National Youth championship (Sears, Bemis, and Smyth) when it was in San Francisco, and the Techno 293 (windsurfing) Youth Worlds
- Disabled Sailors and organizations such as Bay Area Disabled Sailors
The Grants Committee seeks ways to support introducing new kids to sailing and then helping them develop. It also supports the most competitive of them to reach their highest goal, including that of an Olympic Medal. The Foundation is Bay Area focused, but not to the exclusion of worthy outside individuals and organizations.
In our discussions about grant applications, we regularly ask what our donors would like us to support. Plus, we think about what our mentor and benefactor Tom Allen would say. He was an altruistic supporter of Bay Area sailing, the man who gave us our start, who helped develop our mission, and added to our endowment.
The Foundation BOD thinks it is on the right track, but appreciates input from all its benefactors.