NEWPORT, R.I. – BankNewport today presented a $25,000 grant from its Rhode Island Foundation Charitable Fund to the non-profit organization Tall Ships Rhode Island, Inc (TSRI). The grant, presented by BankNewport President and CEO Thomas Kelly to TSRI Chairman Bart Dunbar, supports Phase I project development expenses for the new Ocean State-based sail training ship Oliver Hazard Perry.
“BankNewport is proud of its long partnership with Tall Ships Rhode Island,” said Kelly, referencing the many successful Tall Ships Festivals that TSRI has brought to Rhode Island shores since its inception in 1992, “and we commend your unwavering commitment to construct the Oliver Hazard Perry, a significant economic development, educational, and cultural benefit for Newport and the State of Rhode Island.”
Since its August acquisition of a 132-foot steel hull (that arrived at Bowen’s Wharf in Newport at the end of October), TSRI has generated $1.6 million in financial support and contributed value toward the Oliver Hazard Perry project, which is a $5.3 million endeavor.
“We are very appreciative of the timely support of many private donors and now welcome BankNewport as an important donor to this project,” said Dunbar.
Anticipating that other business leaders will take note, Dunbar explained that TSRI has established an ambitious, but necessary, 18-month $2.2 million charitable contributions goal so that the ship can be completed in 2011. The expeditious timetable includes significant shipyard work to be completed at Blount Boats in Warren, R.I., and the utilization of many more Rhode Island marine trades businesses to fit out what will become the largest privately-owned sail training vessel in the United States.
Tom Goddard, chairman of the TSRI Fundraising Committee, said, “In the immediate economic climate, the Oliver Hazard Perry is, first and foremost, a job-retention project for Rhode Island’s marine trades and is perfectly aligned with the government’s response plans to stimulate our economy. Our hope is that the private sector in Newport and throughout Rhode Island will also be attracted to a triple bottom line of economic, cultural and educational benefits. This is obviously the case with BankNewport’s generous grant.”
Once it is sailing in 2011, the Oliver Hazard Perry will measure in at 207 feet in length and boast a majestic three-masted, square rig that stands 13 stories tall. It will be a working vessel, supporting itself with educational and sail training programs, with an office, staff and crew that has a budget of $1 million each year.
BankNewport, founded in 1819 and currently holding $1 billion in assets, is an FDIC-insured savings bank and is a subsidiary of the Mutual Holding Company, OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC. Along with its other OceanPoint Financial Partners – OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc., Smith Mack & Associates, Meredith & Clarke, and Narragansett Underwriting Group – BankNewport is proud to serve the financial needs of customers from banking and insurance offices located throughout southeastern New England.
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