MRAA Educational Foundation Raises More Than $20,000


The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) Educational Foundation has exceeded its goal of raising US $20,000 in 2014 to provide financial support for education, training and professional development in the recreational marine trades.

The foundation achieved its fundraising goal during the recent Marine Dealer Conference and Expo (MDCE), which took place this past November at the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

“We are inspired by the generosity that allowed the foundation to reach this critical milestone in 2014,' says Liz Walz, MRAA Director of Education and Executive Director of the Foundation. “By contributing to the foundation's award and scholarship funds, donors are helping to grow and develop the marine industry's workforce, thus building a brighter future for the boating business. A big ‘thank-you' to all of those that offered their support.'

Prior to the start of MDCE, the MRAA Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation, had raised US $7,400 in 2014. Donations secured at and immediately following the November event topped US $12,000, pushing the foundation over its goal and helping fund several key educational opportunities.

“Donations made to the MRAA Educational Foundation directly contribute to the education and training of this industry's exceptional crop of current and prospective professionals,' says Ed Lofgren, MRAA Educational Foundation Board president and CEO of 3A Marine Service Inc. in Hingham, Massachusetts. “The foundation relies on these contributions not only to help marine retailers find qualified people, but also to develop them.'

During the 2014 MDCE, the MRAA Educational Foundation presented nine scholarships and awards that together represent US $34,120 worth of technical training and professional development. They include the following programs:

• Three MRAA Technical Scholarships, which are awarded to marine schools that train students for careers in the marine industry

• Two ABYC Scholarships, which cover the tuition for one recipient to attend ABYC's Introduction to Basic Marine Electric and Corrosion Protection and for another recipient to attend one of ABYC's Certification Courses

• The Duane Spader Leadership Development Scholarship, which covers the tuition for one recipient to attend Spader Business Management's Leadership Development Program

• Two Kevin Lodder Scholarships, which cover the tuition and provide a travel stipend for each recipient to attend Spader Business Management's Total Management 1 Workshop

• The Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award, which is presented to an outstanding woman who is actively involved in the marine industry

The MRAA launched the Educational Foundation in 2004. The not-for-profit corporation provides financial support for education, training and professional development in the recreational marine trades.