Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center Breaks Ground on the Future

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Nonprofit announces two $1 million gifts and final phase of $5.75 million capital campaign

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These extraordinary philanthropic gifts reflect an unwavering belief in the mission and work of this organization and the desire to share it with more community members," said Mark Naud, executive director of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center.

During a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new, world-class community waterfront campus and sailing education center, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (CSC), a nonprofit with a mission to provide community access to Lake Champlain, today announced two anchor gifts, each for $1 million, in their $5.75 million Love Your Lake Capital Campaign. The gifts, one from the Pomerleau Family Foundation, and the second from family and friends in honor of Raymond P. Sullivan, will help to support the construction of The Pomerleau Community Waterfront Campus and Raymond P. Sullivan Sailing Education Center.

"These extraordinary philanthropic gifts reflect an unwavering belief in the mission and work of this organization and the desire to share it with more community members," said Mark Naud, executive director of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center. “These investments usher in a new era on Burlington’s waterfront and with additional support from other community leaders and donors, the organization has raised over $5 million toward our capital campaign. With less than one million left to raise, we welcome and encourage community members who value education, recreation and public access to Lake Champlain to give to the Love Your Lake campaign.”

The donor support to date and the ground breaking today, which have been achieved through a partnership between private philanthropy and the City of Burlington, represent the first major investments in public access to Lake Champlain in the past 20 years. In 2014, as part of the City of Burlington’s Waterfront Access North Project to redevelop the area adjacent to the Sailing Center, city residents voted in favor of TIF funded infrastructure improvements, totaling $500,000 of project costs, to develop a new world-class waterfront campus and facility.

“As my 100th birthday approaches, I’m looking ahead to the next century for all Vermonters. Lake Champlain is an inspiring part of our life. With this $1 million gift, the Pomerleau Family Foundation aims to ensure, for the next century, that all Vermonters will enjoy this lake we love,” said Antonio Pomerleau, a Vermont real estate developer and philanthropic angel.     

“The Sullivan family can not think of a better way to honor the life and legacy of our dad. Ray knew first hand the power that water and sailing could have on one's life. It certainly had a profound impact on his. The naming of the Sailing Education Center is made possible by dear friends of his who found it a fitting tribute to man who was so very loved,” stated Ashley Sullivan.

Since 1994, the CSC has utilized sailing and human-powered watercrafts to break down the economic and physical barriers of access to Lake Champlain for all Vermonters and visitors alike. For 22 last years, the CSC has operated out of limited facilities, including a public works garage on the lakeshore, expanding programs each year to continually meet the needs of the community. In 2016, the organization served over 6,200 individuals and collaborated with 71 community partners to provide educational lake-based experiences.

“Today marks another important milestone in the rebirth of Burlington’s northern waterfront,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The Community Sailing Center has helped so many children and adults deepen their appreciation and enjoyment of Lake Champlain over the last 20 years, despite serious space constraints and limitations. I am excited to see the Sailing Center grow into its new home and open the Lake to many more Vermonters in the years ahead. The City is proud to have been a partner in this effort. Congratulations to everyone who has made this exciting day possible.”

The new community waterfront campus contains a 22,180-square-foot sailing education center that includes: year-round classroom space, new boats and docks, restroom facilities, indoor storage, locker rooms, offices, and maintenance facilities, while ensuring public access, education, and recreation on Lake Champlain for years to come. Construction will begin immediately and the project is expected to be complete in 2017.

For more information on the project and the Love Your Lake campaign, or to learn more about the CSC, visit http://www.communitysailingcenter.org or http://www.loveyourlakevt.org.
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About Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center: A community-based non-profit organization, Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center encourages and celebrates the responsible use and long-term stewardship of Lake Champlain by providing the community with educational and recreational access to Lake Champlain. The Community Sailing Center (CSC) is a vital community resource on the Burlington Waterfront that serves over 6,000 people each year through award winning programs, which use human powered watercraft as a medium to instill a sense of ownership in one of Vermont’s most important natural resources. A cornerstone of the Burlington community for over 20 years, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center inspires lake stewardship, provides universal access to the lake and is helping preserve the beauty of Lake Champlain for future generations. To learn more about the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, please visit: http://www.CommunitySailingCenter.org.

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Charlotte Longley
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