The American Boat and Yacht Council Foundation's annual fundraising drive could raise more than $30,000 this year with the promise of a guaranteed matching gift for reaching $15,000 in donations.
The foundation's chairman, Joe Charles of Charles Industries, issued an industry-wide challenge.
"Many in our industry don't realize how important a role the ABYC Foundation plays in funding boating safety research, special programs and technical education and training," Charles said in a statement. "I believe lives have been saved, boating safety issues resolved, as well as opportunities to educate, train and certify industry personnel fulfilled because of the existence of the ABYC Foundation.
"The foundation now needs industry support and I am both proud and fortunate to be able to issue this matching challenge," he added.
Council president Skip Burdon, secretary of the foundation, said it has sufficient operating funds to sustain it for only a few more years.
"While we realize that these are difficult times for many in our industry, even the smallest of donations can produce big results when all of us reach out and give what our means will allow," Burdon said. "A donation of $20 by 5,000 individuals throughout the industry could raise $100,000 - that's the real power of the small donations."
Donations to the foundation are tax-deductible and each one will be acknowledged with an e-mail or letter. Donations above $250 will be acknowledged at the ABYC website for all of 2011, starting Feb. 1.
Donations can be made by calling ABYC at (410) 990-4460, Ext. 32, 43 or 26. Donations also can be made at the ABYC website by clicking on the ABYC Foundation icon button on the left side of the site.