Charitable Giving to Grow Sailing

Charitable Giving to Grow Sailing

Would you like to do good in the world?  Do you have the goal of being philanthropic?  Does a tax situation give you a little push to give some of your hard earned money away?  Or do you just have some money you just like to give away, just because?

Would you contribute to teaching the nautical arts?

Charitable not-for-profit sailing schools provide an extremely affordable way to get into sailing.  Most, if not all, are managed by volunteers.  Most schools are guests on someone else’s property and either pay no rent, or something under market rates.  Most use paid instructors (mostly college students) at reasonable pay.  After wages, boat purchases are the second highest cost for these charities.

Optimist420A boat can be used for 10 years, or more, depending on the usage.  Boats for kids under 15 called “Optimists” about 8′ long can cost about $3,000 a piece, new.  420’s, about 14′ long, is a double-handed youth trainer used with kids all the way through college can be upwards to $6,500 – $8,500 a piece brand new.  To replace an aging fleet, to go out and buy ten 420’s can be a $65,000 – $85,000 depreciating investment.

This is why these sailing schools are set up as charities.  By collecting donations to pay for the equipment, the student cost of sailing schools ends up being instructor labor, insurance and payroll taxes as the big overhead costs.  Now you understand why the schools can offer such an affordable deal for learning sailing.

While it may sound funny that “sailing needs charity,” this blog is dedicated to proving that sailing is a middle class sport, and is not flush with millionaires just lying around with drinks in their hands with tiny umbrellas with their pinky outstretched.  Sailing needs financial support in order to succeed.

Many charities have the name “Yacht Club” in them.  Most yacht clubs do not qualify as a charity as not all of their pursuits fit the IRS rules for charitable purposes.  However, the yacht clubs have one thing – waterfront property.  As anyone knows, waterfront property is excruciatingly expensive to buy in today’s times.  So the clubs who acquired this land probably 100 years ago, allow these separate independent corporation charitable sailing schools to operate on their property, and want recognition for their assistance to the charitable sailing school by having their name in the title. It also makes it easier to find the school when going there.

The following organizations were taken from a list on the IRS website of Charitable Organizations.

Please consider a donation to any of the following Sail Training related charities:


Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation, Richland, MI.  Coordinates sailboat racing, works on growing sailing and sailboat racing, awards grants to Lake Michigan sailors competing away from Lake Michigan, recognizes exemplary support to sailing with the Lake Michigan Hall of Fame.

Midwest Womens Sailing Conference Inc., Shorewood, WI.  Annual conference bringing in noted speakers, seminars, and training for women.

Great Lakes Maritime Academy / Northwestern Michigan College Foundation, Traverse City, MI.  Teaches Engineering, Merchant Marines, Deck Officers, and Naval Reserves.  Teaching one how to run and operate ships.

United States Power Squadrons, teaches boat handling, boating safety, vessel examinations, etc.

Western Michigan Yachting Association, Spring Lake, MI – Coordinates youth regattas and runs a youth regatta.


Ephraim Yacht Club, Ephraim.  Teaches sailing to the general public.   Looks for cash and hands-on volunteers.

SailAnyWay, Sturgeon Bay.   Teaching and competing in disabled sailing.

Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club Sail Training Foundation Inc., Sturgeon Bay.  Teaches sailing to the general public.   Looks for cash and hands-on volunteers.

Fox Valley Sailing School, Neenah.  Junior and adult sailing school.  Collegiate sailing.

Okauchee Lake Sailing School Inc., Nashotah. Junior and adult sailing school.  Boy Scout sailing.

Oshkosh Yacht Club, Inc., Oshkosh.  Supports water safety, Promote sportsmanship, Teach the sport of sailing to new members, emphasizing youth sailing and water safety, Encourage sailors to find life-long pleasure in the sport, Preserve the rich sailing heritage of Oshkosh and the importance of Oshkosh and Lake Winnebago in the development of scow sailing.

La Belle Yacht Club Sailing School Corporation, Oconomowoc.  Junior sailing school.

Green Lake Sailing School, Green Lake.  Junior and adult sailing school.

Sheboygan Youth Sailing Club Inc., Sheboygan.  Junior and adult sailing school.

Sail Sheboygan Foundation, Ltd., Sheboygan.  Community sailing center that promotes national and international sailing competition and education as well as power boat education.

Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan (SEAS), Sheboygan.  Teaches the maritime arts of sailing, power boating, maritime history, fly fishing, & affordable community boat rentals.

North Lake Sailing School, North Lake.  Junior and adult sailing school.

Milwaukee Yacht Club Foundation, Inc., Milwaukee. Teaches safety at sea, conservation, use of Lake Michigan water, preservation of park land near Lake Michigan.

Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, Milwaukee.  Junior and adult sailing school.  Disabled and community outreach to at-risk urban teenagers.  Members may use MCSC boats seven days a week.

South Shore Yacht Club Junior Sailing Foundation Inc., Milwaukee.  Junior sailing school.

Pewaukee Lake Sailing School, Pewaukee.  Which uses the principles of water safety, the theory of hulls and sail design, and teaches the principles of sailing, racing, and sportsmanship. All of this work is exclusively for educational, scientific, and charitable purposes.

Labelle Yacht Club Sailing School Corporation, Lac La Belle.  Junior sailing school, with traveling team.

Delavan Lake Sailing School, Delavan.  Junior and disabled sailing school. Tennis.  Regattas.

Lake Beulah Sailing School, East Troy.  Junior sailing school.

Geneva Lake Sailing School, Fontana.  Junior and adult sailing school, high school sailing.


Waukegan Yacht Club Youth Foundation, Waukegan.  Teaches youth sailing, provides scholarships, water safety education, as well as operational and equipment expenses.

Pistakee Yacht Club Sailing School (aka Community Sailing School @ Pistakee), Johnsburg.   Sailing school for youth, teen and adults.

North Shore Sailing Youth Coalition, Highland Park.  Teaches youth, high school, adult, team.

Loyola Academy Sailing Club, Wilmette.  High school sailing team, teaches sailing, supports interscholastic competition.

Sheridan Shore Sailing School, Wilmette.  Teaches junior and high school.  Hosts youth regattas.

Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, Chicago, Lake Forest.  Teaches disabled sailors, and inner-city youth.

Columbia Yacht Club Legacy Foundation, Chicago.  To promote the sport of sailing, marine education, sportsmanship and competition.

Sail Chicago, Chicago.  Teaches adults, rents boats, racing, preparation for bareboat chartering, Association House of Chicago urban youth sailing, Lawrence Hall at risk youth, Schuler Scholar Program.

Chicago Yacht Club Foundation, Chicago.  Provides educational presentations on maritime topics, Tall Ship training for select Chicago public high school women, need-based grants for sailing lessons, and support for the Rickover Naval Academy sailing team. The Foundation also assists the Chicago area sailing community by sponsoring the Neill Advanced Sailing Clinic to help young sailors sharpen their skills, and by offering grants for youth competitors for participation in regattas and clinics.

IBYC Sailing Foundation, Ltd., Springfield.  Sponsors Sea Scout Ship 1-2-3, tuition underwriting of sailing school, educational programs, seminars.


Little Traverse Sailors, Harbor Springs.  Junior sailing school.

Traverse Area Community Sailing, Traverse City.  Youth and adult sailing school, adaptive and high school.

Maritime Heritage Alliance, Traverse City.  Scientific, literary, social or education activities of indigenous boats.

Ludington Youth Sailing School, Ludington.  Youths sailing school.

Crystal Lake Sailing School, Frankfort.  Junior sailing school.

Pentwater Junior Sailing Program Inc., Pentwater.  Junior & adult sailing school, scholarships available.

Muskegon Junior Sailing Association, Muskegon.   Junior sailing school.

Spring Lake Junior Sailing, Spring Lake.  Junior and adult sailing school

Grand Rapids Junior Sailing Association, East Grand Rapids.  Junior and Adult sailing school, junior travel team.

Walloon Sailors Inc., Petoskey.  Junior and adult sailing school, travel team.

Saugatuck Y C Sailing Program, Douglas.  Junior sailing school, boating safety education, Women’s sailing program.


Clear Lake Yacht Club Sailing School  Junior sailing school.

Indianapolis Sailing Foundation  to promote and support educational sailing programs in Indiana with particular emphasis on youth sailing.

South Lake Sailing School, Cedar Lake.  Junior sailing school.

Indiana Sailing Association, Inc., Highland / East Chicago.  To provide facilities for sailboat sailing on the Great Lakes and for seamanship and navigation generally; To improve the conditions of life for young people by giving them the opportunity to go to sea offshore, working a vessel under sail with their own hands; To foster the spirit of adventure latent in young people; To build a sense of responsibility among young people both for themselves and for the community in which they live; and, To broaden horizons for learning, further education, naval homeland security and marine industry careers.


Give freely to these organizations, open your checkbook, or go online and submit a donation electronically.  Your money will go to teaching thousands of youth to sail.

As with making any donations, it is always advisable to work with your tax adviser.  Some do-it-yourselfers use Guide Star to see the IRS-990 tax returns and other information on a charity before donating.  At the time of this publishing, the charities above are listed on the IRS charitable list.

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