Case for Support

Each year in May, Sarasota Crew celebrates our athletes at the annual awards banquet. The graduating seniors each present a speech during the evening. They reflect on their time at Sarasota Crew by calling their teammates brothers and sisters, by thanking their coaches for all of the many hard lessons learned, and by reminiscing about their fondest memories. Unlike most athletic banquets, the Sarasota Crew seniors declare where they will continue their higher education. In fact, 100% of these student-athletes are accepted into a college or university.DSC 1875 W min

On this night, the air is electric with visions of a bright future. If only more young people from every background could experience this “secret sauce,” how might they change our world? We want to offer the opportunity to lift their vision for their future beyond normal expectations and limitations.>

Sarasota Crew was founded in 2002 with 65 youth rowers. Today, there are approximately 400 athletes from 36 different elementary, middle, and high schools that together form Sarasota Crew, the largest youth rowing program in America. In many sports, the most talented and skilled athletes compete while the others sit and warm the bench. Rowing is different. It is the only sport that allows every athlete - not just the biggest, strongest or fastest - to compete at his or her own level. From novice to varsity rowers, every student-athlete participates to his or her own fullest ability. Despite a “no-cut” policy, Sarasota Crew has won eight consecutive Florida State Championships, more than 100 athletes have participated in the US Junior National Team and more than 20 rowers from the program have been selected to represent the United States at World Championships.

The program fits our community well, consistently produces champions, and empowers lives. The program provides positive, competitive rowing experiences that cultivate high standards of personal integrity and self-esteem, promote teamwork and sportsmanship and instill a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

“Empowering lives- one rower at a time” is not only the aspirational vision of the programs serving student-athletes from local schools, but it also applies to the adaptive and masters rowing programs. Sarasota Crew currently serves more than fifty adult rowers. But we are bursting at the seams, and a waiting list of students who want to be part of the Crew family continues to grow. Sarasota Crew must expand our facilities to enable more people in our community of all ages and backgrounds to experience the long-term value of this program.

“Sarasota Crew is a transformative experience. The coaches and the culture that they have built here inspire people to be their absolute best. Crew inspires us to reach goals we never thought were possible.”
-Sarasota Crew alum, Brown University, and U23 World Silver Medalist

IMG 0067 minA new boatyard and boathouse in Osprey to augment the existing site and enable Sarasota Crew to open the program to more individuals is the solution. With an additional facility, Sarasota Crew can serve more youth and adults in our community and even offer opportunities to train for visiting teams. Therefore, Sarasota Crew begins an initiative to expand our program for the benefit of our community through the development of an additional facility.


The Solution: A second boatyard and boathouse

The opportunity to scale the phenomenal outcomes of our student-athletes so that others can access Sarasota Crew’s “secret sauce” is dependent on infrastructure. The Board of Directors does not just want the organization to be bigger. All of Sarasota Crew– coaches, student-athletes, volunteers, and parents– aspire to be an even better model for our community’s future leaders. To meet these goals, Sarasota Crew has exciting and transformational plans. Sarasota Crew seeks to build a new boathouse that will be transformed into a state of the art facility.


Phase 1 – Site Development and Boathouse Construction                                                                                               IMG 0007

• Land Acquisition                                   
• Rezoning and permitting Building demolition and removal     
• Site engineering and improvements     
• Boathouse for boat storage
• Temporary office and boat racks           
• 2nd and 3rd-floor shell
• Training equipment                             
 • Endowment
• Docks

Progress to Date                                              

• Sarasota Crew purchased 3.14 acres, stretching from US-41 to Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey, FL, partially funded by a low-interest loan from two families.                                                                          
IMG 0073• Sarasota Crew invested more than $60,000 to rezone the property, perform preliminary engineering work, and apply for dock permits.
• Sarasota Crew obtained endorsements for the project from Visit Sarasota and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
• Sarasota Crew collaborated with Sarasota County to acquire 1.12 waterfront acres to the south of the Sarasota Crew site for a public county park.
• Sarasota Crew worked with West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) and Sarasota County to secure $650,000 to make the site immediately operational as a boatyard (without a boathouse).
• Sarasota Crew received an anonymous $750,000 challenge grant - Raise $750,000 by December 31, 2018, and receive $750,000.  We successfully completed the challenge grant in December of 2018.
• Sarasota Crew moves the high school program to the new site in January 2020.

The Change We Plan to See

Sarasota Crew is a national best-in-class program shaping student-athletes who are growing up right here in our community. Through our comprehensive after school program, we foster a strong local community by lowering juvenile crime and decreasing youth experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and sex. We create a culture of health for our athletes and their families. Our effort to continue our mission requires support from generous individuals and families, foundations and government, corporations and small businesses.

When our student-athletes practice, they learn to act with integrity, develop strong character, grow their self-discipline, and value good sportsmanship. Growth opportunities do not stop at the water’s edge. Our young rowers learn from the example set by those around them by parents, coaches,

masters rowers, and alumni who comprise an invaluable holistic system that shapes and supports the environment of Sarasota Crew. The Crew family envelopes and encourages all youth to become winners on the water, in the classroom, and, most importantly, in life. “Empowering Lives -- One Rower At A Time” is more than a mission for Sarasota Crew. It is a cause for a better and stronger community.

“Crew has created an opportunity for me that I never would have thought possible, created friendships I hope to maintain for life, and instilled values like hard work and determination that I will take with me for the rest of my life.”
- Tracey Roberts, Alumni 2014

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