What is the mission of Live Water Foundation?
Our mission is to Inspire and Empower the people and organizations we work with by facilitating watersports programs that improve the health, wellness, and environment of our communities.
How did you come up with that idea?
The Live Water Foundation was formed in 2017 to expand on the signature community give-back programs of Capital SUP, a for-profit watersports company I co-founded in 2014 located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland. In Capital SUP's first year of business, we reached out to the local Wounded Warrior Project community and began teaching them how to stand-up paddleboard.
What was the first event you organized and how many people participated?
In 2015, after working with individuals and small groups from the Wounded Warrior Project community that Summer, we hosted an end-of-season family paddling event for them. The program participants invited their families out for an afternoon of paddling and eating crabs. Around 50 people attended the event. Afterward, my business partners and I started to think about creating a non-profit.
How often do you hold events and what has been the most popular one?
Historically, our "events" have been related to our program activation, celebrating the end of our programmatic seasons with our participants. Our first big fundraising event is coming up on Friday, May 6 that is called the Live Water Luau, a Hawaiian-themed luau. Spartan Medical has signed on to be a title sponsor!
What has surprised you the most since launching Live Water Foundation?
Being a younger organization, we've encountered situations where other organizations don't take us seriously or try to take advantage of us from a negative perspective. There are too many organizations in our community that are old, stale, and feel threatened by us. It's a shame, and it usually derives from a financial threat. There are a lot of organizations that have similar missions and programs and only so much money to go around. From the beginning, our focus has been on our program activation, not on raising money. Doing so has allowed us to maximize our impact in the community while strategically finding key partners that believe in our mission to help us become more financially sustainable.
What has been your proudest moment with Live Water Foundation?
I can't point out a specific moment; however, I'm extraordinarily proud we have made it this far, and our future is bright! Running a non-profit is hard, especially when my team and I do it in our free time. We are all volunteers. The Live Water Foundation is my outlet to give back to the community, and it gives me a greater purpose in life.
What do you find most challenging about managing Live Water Foundation?
The most challenging part is managing the "business." A non-profit is a business, an essential part I did not think about much when I started the organization. We were focused and passionate about our program activation; however, I soon learned that the programs would not last without the commitment to managing and growing the business. We are a 100% volunteer-based organization. I'm fortunate to have an active Board of Directors team that helps me keep the organization going and growing!
What do you need help with the most?
Currently, our most significant need is creating more predictable revenue streams to better manage and forecast our programs. This is the #1 priority in 2022. Achieving this will create a sustainable future and take the organization to the next level. The Live Water Luau, our first major event on May 6th, is a big step in that direction.
What is it like to be a volunteer for Live Water Foundation?
If you enjoy being on the water, being active, and giving back to the community, then I can't think of a better of a better way to volunteer than with the Live Water Foundation.
How has the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® helped you?
The Live Water Foundation was first introduced to the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® less than six months ago, and they have already made a significant impact! We were one of the beneficiaries of their first annual American Heroes Benefit. I will never forget the first conversation I had with Spartan Medical President and Proffitt Brothers Foundation® Founder Vince Proffitt at the event. He said their goal for the beneficiaries is to raise enough money from the event to fund the organizations to the point where they would not have to raise money from anywhere else. It's a bold statement, and one that I know will become true. It's a testament to the vision Vince has and his leadership. As mentioned already, Spartan Medical is a title sponsor of the Live Water Luau. I'm looking forward to growing our relationship with Vince, Spartan Medical, and the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®.
What do you wish other people knew about Live Water Foundation?
We invest more resources and time than many other local organizations in getting our story out to the public. Our website is livewaterfoundation.org. We have an active blog that's a great place to read about Live Water news. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn @livewaterfoundation.