West Marine said it will begin accepting applications for 2017 BlueFuture grants on Saturday.
The spring grant cycle will run through May 1. The company said grant recipients will be announced by the middle of the month.
Encouraged to apply are nonprofit, community-based organizations that teach sailing, powerboating, fishing, paddling or surfing; provide boatbuilding instruction; foster aquatic sustainability and conservation practices; and encourage learning in the marine sciences. The $1,500 grants are given without restriction.
“We are dedicated to ensuring that every child has access to the water, regardless of circumstances,” West Marine communications director Lindsey Johnson said in a statement.
“We are a company for people who love the water, by people who love the water; we want to help provide America’s children, particularly those in underserved communities, with the same opportunities we’ve had.”
A team of West Marine judges will review the applications after the grant period closes on May 1 and announce the 25 winners in the next couple of weeks.
“All of us at West Marine are passionate about the BlueFuture program, and we’re always excited to see the applications we receive,” Johnson said. “We have so many worthy organizations in this country, with staff and volunteers working incredibly hard to meet the needs of their local communities. We’re honored to support their efforts as they seek to get even more young people on and around the water.”
West Marine created its nonprofit BlueFuture Fund in May 2015 to provide grant funding to charities across North America.
“The more money we raise, the more grants we can award, and that means having a greater impact,” Johnson said. “Essentially, supporting BlueFuture means you’re joining a nationwide movement to get kids out on the water in a variety of capacities — we encourage anyone who’s interested to consider making a contribution through our website or to visit one of our stores during a BlueFuture fundraiser. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a real difference and it’s deeply appreciated.”