Water sports operator gives up boat for fundraising

| 25/09/2013

(CNS): Starting in October the Special Olympics Cayman Islands will have the use of a Red Sail Sports luxury catamaran and crew to use as a fundraising tool or place for social events. The monthly date is a donation from the Red Sail Group in addition to the firm’s $15,000 financial contribution made earlier this year. “A financial donation only goes so far and we want to empower the Special Olympics Cayman Islands to help itself and its athletes by other means,” said Rod McDowall, General Manager of Red Sail Sports. “Our catamarans are very, very popular and it’s up to the organization to take this opportunity and run with it − the sky’s the limit,” he added.

McDowall says a catamaran sail can bring in up to $2000, so the Special Olympics Cayman Islands can tap into a revenue stream that would add up to $24,000 a year to their coffers. For a non-profit organization that relies completely on volunteers and contributions, the regular use of a luxury catamaran also adds a venue for social events, opening up many possibilities.

“It’s tremendous” said Nick Freeland, chairman of the SOCI Board. “Clearly it is a potential revenue-stream for us, but I see that as secondary, because it’s important for us to maximize and strengthen our existing relationships with sponsors.”

Special Olympics Cayman Islands enjoys the support of several loyal corporate benefactors who sponsor athletes attending competitions and fund the costs of the SOCI’s annual fundraiser, the Eric Crutchley Memorial Golf Tournament.

“Most nonprofits don’t have the opportunity to give something back,” added coach and volunteer Stuart Knox who will be responsible for making the most of the catamaran partnership.  “We have had years of continued support from our corporate sponsors and this is a huge opportunity to thank them with a gift in return.”

Knox already has creative ideas on how to have fun onboard the catamaran which holds up to 70 people: Murder Mystery on the Sea, ‘Mask Night’ on board, karaoke, and other activities. Or he says sponsors and their staff can simply enjoy a relaxing sunset sail.

“We can promote the programs and the needs of SOCI to a captive audience and hopefully recruit volunteers to help, so this will be a great awareness builder,” Freeland said “At the end of the day we want to expand our programmes and we need volunteers to do that. We don’t just want to write checks, we want our staffs to get involved because it's a hugely worthwhile organization.”

As well as adding programme Freeland said the sports charity wants to bring in younger children who can benefit, but they can only do it if they have more certified coaches and volunteers. “It takes a lot of work to make the Special Olympics Cayman Islands successful, we need a lot of bodies to do the work,” he said.

For more information on the Special Olympics of the Cayman Islands, (345) 946-7624 or e-mail soci@candw.ky.

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