America True launches scholarship fund
Published on November 18th, 2021
Twenty five years after America True challenged for the America’s Cup, its assets are being used to establish a $150,000 scholarship fund for community sailing graduates to train at Oakcliff Sailing, an adult and youth center for athletes who have progressed beyond traditional coaching methods and want to take the next step in their career.
America True, with Dawn Riley as CEO, was the first syndicate headed by a woman and raced with a co-ed crew. Riley is now the Executive Director of Oakcliff Sailing located in Oyster Bay, NY.
The America True team was a critical part of the mid-90s movement to expand sailing opportunities into under-served populations. Their efforts helped develop youth programs across the United States, getting at-risk kids on the water with the motto of, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’.
“The sport of sailing still desperately needs more diversity at all levels,” said Riley. “This scholarship fund will provide a pathway for those who fell in love with sailing at a community sailing program, and will provide the training and network for them to be successful in our sport.”
Scholarships will cover up to 50 percent of the cost of an Oakcliff Acorn or Sapling program for graduates of community sailing organizations. Community sailing is defined as sailing organizations that do significant outreach to under-served communities and underwrite costs for disadvantaged students. Scholarships are need-based and awarded on a first come, first-served basis.
“As someone who made sailing a career, with 40 years in training adults and children sailing and seamanship, I am over-the-moon to hear of this ground breaking and transformative initiative,” commented Rich Jepsen, President of US Sailing. “Dawn Riley always goes big, and this is another testament to America True’s commitment, Dawn’s vision and Oakcliff’s success in creating the next generation of elite competitors and professionals.”
Riley adds, “none of this would be possible without the Coffin Family; the thousands of donors, volunteers and supporters from True Ally Clubs; not to mention the team which actively participated in outreach at the same time as they were training for the America’s Cup.”