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Hispanic Fishing Program Hits $1M Mark

Fifteen fishing programs in six states will receive educational grants from the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation program known as the George H.W. Bush Vamos a Pescar Education Fund.

RBFF created this landmark educational program in 2014 when Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris donated $125,000 in honor of his friend President George H.W. Bush. Its objective: to bring fishing experiences and education to Hispanic families in key metro areas, starting in Texas and Florida. After the initial year, RBFF expanded funding to programs nationally.

Since the fund was implemented, Hispanic fishing has increased 41 percent, up from 3.4 million participants in 2016 to 4.8 million in 2021, according to a 2021 Special Report on Fishing. Moreover, when compared to the overall average fishing participants, Hispanic’s were:

1. more than twice as likely to live in the Pacific region (26 percent)

2. slightly more likely to be female (37 vs. 36 percent)

3. younger, with 42 percent younger than 25

4. 52 percent more likely to go saltwater fishing

Total fishing participation in 2016 was 45.7 million. Participation increased to 55 million in 2021, up 17 percent, which shows Hispanic participation in fishing is outgrowing total U.S. fishing participation.

For 2022, the education fund is awarding $92,400 in grants. But equally important is the requirement that all six recipient states provide 100 percent matching funds. So the total amount of about $185,000 will flow into this year’s Hispanic program.

It’s even more notable that since the fund’s creation, RBFF has awarded $1,005,750 (including this year’s grants) to a variety of boating and fishing programs with one objective: to increase participation.

“We’re proud to support these organizations, as they provide their local Hispanic communities with opportunities to experience the benefits of fishing and boating,” RBFF president and CEO Dave Chanda said. “The recipients of these grants will help ensure boating and fishing will continue to grow in the Hispanic community.”

The 2022 grant recipients:

• CALIFORNIA: Cast Hope, Solidarity, Outdoor Outreach, Reel Guppy Outdoors, Santa Barbara Police Activities League and Sycamore Junior High School.

• FLORIDA: Fishing's Future (Reel Blessed Chapter), Miami-Dade Parks Recreation and Open Spaces — EcoAdventures and Pasco County Parks Recreation and Natural Resources

• OKLAHOMA: OKC Latina and Scissortail Park Foundation

• RHODE ISLAND: Partnership for Providence Parks

• TEXAS: Fishing's Future

• VIRGINIA: Harrisonburg City Public Schools

Looking back at what the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund has meant to our industry in growing fishing and boating:

2016

Grants awarded to five organizations, one in Florida and four in Texas, totaling $48,750.

2017

Awards given to 12 organizations in six states, totaling $70,000 for the 2017 grants cycle ($35K Education Fund and $35K state match). Recipients conducted 39 events with more than 1,217 participants.

2018

Fifteen organizations in six states got grants totaling approximately $160,000 ($78K Education Fund and $82K state match). Recipients conducted 133 events with more than 4,470 participants.

2019

Awards went to 12 organizations in eight states, totaling approximately $125,000 ($60K Education Fund and $65K state match). Recipients conducted 182 events with more than 4,830 participants.

2020

Sixteen organizations in 12 states totaled approximately $205,000 ($100K Education Fund and $105K state match). Some programs were postponed because of the pandemic.

2021

Grants were awarded to 16 organizations in eight states, totaling approximately $212,000 ($106K Education Fund and $106K state match). Recipients conducted 326 events with more than 4,550 participants.

2022

Grants were awarded to 15 organizations in six states, totaling approximately $185,000 for the 2022 grants cycle ($92K Education Fund and $92K state match).

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