SEMA announces fundraising challenge

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Assn, Inc.

November, 2009

Dear Friend of Ernestina,

Since Paul Brawley, former Executive Director and Annie McDowell, former Ship's Accountant have been discharged due to the severe shortfalls in the State budget, I will be keeping you apprised of the ship’s status. Some members of the Schooner Ernestina Commission and some volunteers have formed the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. The purpose of SEMA is raising funds to provide for the maintenance, equipment, manning, programming and operation of the Schooner Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey as a sail training vessel, school ship, and educational enterprise. Our goal is to raise the $3,000,000 needed to rebuild the aft section of the vessel and refit her. SEMA is committed to the ship’s receiving full Coast Guard sailing school vessel certification as soon as possible so that she can return to serving the Commonwealth as she has in the past. Once we have achieved this goal we will continue to support the vessel as needed. SEMA has applied for 501 c 3 non-profit status and expects to receive the determination from the IRS in January, which will be retroactive for 2009. We do have a Certificate for Solicitation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and can accept donations.

The Ernestina Commission met Friday November 20. The ship has recently developed leaks in the stern that are causing it to take on about 3,000 gallons of water a day. The pumps are keeping up with the problem. DCR hired a professional diver to assess the ship’s condition. The diver recommended the ship be hauled out to assess and repair. Commissioner Celeste Bernardo suggested that experts from Mystic Seaport be asked for advice.

In other news from the meeting, James Russell, president of the Whaling Museum, discussed a partnership for educational programs. Commissioner Laura Pires-Hester and programming committee members explained the potential programs that could be revived and developed, but expressed frustration that the Commission lacks the resources to prepare and present programming. There may be a seasonal interpreter for the summer 2010 season.

Bob Hildreth, President of the Commission and a SEMA director, has offered a challenge to SEMA to raise $10,000 that he will match. This will provide SEMA the seed money to ramp up for a major fundraising campaign to support the vessel. Your help is needed. Please give as generously as you can to SEMA. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Fair winds,

Mary Anne McQuillan, President


P.O Box 2995

New Bedford, MA 02741

SEMA Directors:

Mary Anne McQuillan, President

Julius Britto, Vice President

Robert Hildreth, Secretary

Eric Schoenfeld, Treasurer

John Buddy Andrade

John Bullard

Marc Pires