West Marine shifts focus on non-profit endeavor

Starting this spring, West Marine is taking a new approach with its non-profit BlueFuture program.

Starting this spring, West Marine is taking a new approach with its non-profit BlueFuture program. The program initially supported initiatives on three fronts — youth boating, sustainable fisheries and marine conservation — but the company said it has opted to narrow BlueFuture’s focus with the aim of strengthening its impact.

To grow BlueFuture and broaden its reach across North America, West Marine is focusing on non-profit, community-based organizations that share its commitment to promoting waterlife recreation, education and stewardship among young people.

“We’re excited about the new direction we’re taking with BlueFuture,” West Marine communications director Lindsey Johnson said in a statement. “We believe we’ll have the greatest impact if we focus on nonprofit groups that are dedicated to getting kids and teens on and around the water, whether it’s sailing, fishing, powerboating, paddlesports, boatbuilding, conservation efforts or marine sciences.

“We want to ensure that the next generation has access to the water, and to the valuable job and life skills that water-based education and training provide,” she said. “Working together with our partner organizations, our goal is to increase the number of communities — and the number of youths — we serve each year.”

Not only will West Marine now offer spring and fall BlueFuture grant cycles, with funds benefiting groups that are making a real difference in the lives of their communities’ young people, but the company also has launched a new website, www.westmarine.com/bluefuture, introducing BlueFuture to a wider audience.

The new site includes grant-related information for those interested in applying for BlueFuture funds and details regarding ways the public can help support the program, ranging from direct, tax-deductible contributions to participation in West Marine’s three signature BlueFuture in-store fundraising events: National Safe Boating Week in May; World Oceans Day in June; and the Month of Giving in December.

The new “BlueFuture Heroes” page gives website visitors the opportunity to become acquainted with previous BlueFuture grant recipients.

Articles and photos share the good work these water-based organizations, such as Alameda Community Sailing Center in California, are doing with youth in their communities.