Pride of Baltimore II‘s Homecoming July 1, 2017, courtesy of Jeffrey G. Katz
Operator of historic tall ship to develop long-term financial model to sustain its mission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2018
Contact: Tom Waldron
410.962.5707; (c) 410.350.6637
BALTIMORE, MD – The State of Maryland will provide ongoing financial support to the nonprofit operator of the tall ship Pride of Baltimore II under legislation passed during the 2018 General Assembly session. Support in the Senate was unanimous and an overwhelming number of delegates voted in favor for it in the House.
The legislation commits the State to provide $500,000 annually to Pride of Baltimore, Inc. for five years, beginning in fiscal year 2019.
Legislative leaders took decisive action after Pride of Baltimore made a public announcement earlier this year that it was facing severe financial challenges.
Pride’s initial appeal for support generated important new funding commitments, but the organization must continue to raise significant additional funding.
“I’ve seen firsthand how Pride showcases Baltimore’s maritime history and attracts visitors and attention,” said Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, the lead Senate sponsor of the funding legislation. “The General Assembly has ensured that Pride has the resources needed to continue to represent the city and state for years to come.”
“Pride of Baltimore II is a beautiful symbol of the city and a wonderful economic ambassador for the state of Maryland, and it’s critical that the State continues to support her operations,” said Del. Maggie McIntosh, the lead House sponsor. “Pride also gives kids in Baltimore and beyond a great opportunity to learn about our maritime history. I am a big fan of Pride and am proud that we made sure she has the resources to continue her critically important mission.”
While the renewed state funding is critically important, Pride of Baltimore is focused on continuing to raise funds from the corporate community, grants, individuals, and other sources to bridge the gap in funding each year.
“We are excited about the legislation to secure long-term funding for Pride,” said Captain Eric Nielsen, chair of the board of Pride of Baltimore, Inc. “But we still must continue to raise significant funds to sustain our important work. I am hopeful that individuals and businesses that appreciate Pride will continue to support our mission.”
Pride of Baltimore Executive Director Rick Scott said the organization will use the next several months to secure additional sponsorships and develop a long-term financial sustainability plan.
Over the years, Pride of Baltimore has been able to generate less than half of its budget from operating revenues, such as appearance fees, souvenir sales, and day sails — requiring the organization to raise a significant amount of money each year. Around the country, other tall ships have also struggled to maintain the resources to fulfill their missions and maintain themselves. However, unlike many tall ships, Pride of Baltimore II has no outstanding debt. And thanks to ongoing maintenance, the ship is able to sail for many more years.
Pride II was owned by the state of Maryland from 1988 to 2010, and now is both owned and operated by Pride of Baltimore, Inc., a nonprofit funded through corporate support, grants, individual gifts, and income from festival appearances and other sources.
The first Pride of Baltimore, a topsail schooner that recalled the Baltimore Clippers that helped the U.S. secure independence during the War of 1812, was commissioned in 1977 and sailed for nearly a decade before being lost at sea in 1986. A successor vessel, Pride of Baltimore II, was launched in 1988 and has logged more than 250,000 miles and visited more than 200 ports in 40 countries. She has generated enormous goodwill and interest in the rich maritime history of Baltimore and Maryland.
In 2017, the organization celebrated the 40th anniversary of Pride in Baltimore, highlighted by Pride II‘s popular appearances in three tall ships festivals and two open-ocean races. This year marks 30 years since Pride of Baltimore II was launched in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Pride II routinely attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year and generates wide media coverage worth tens of millions of dollars in exposure for the ship, the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. With renewed support from the State of Maryland over the past three years, Pride II was also used locally and in other ports to promote economic development in the state.
Pride of Baltimore has also created unique educational opportunities for Marylanders. While every visitor to Pride II learns about the dynamic designs of Chesapeake schooners and the pivotal role of Maryland privateers in the War of 1812, programs specifically tailored for students enhance the experience through hands-on learning. Dockside programs — featuring lessons in simple machines, navigation, and the life of a sailor — have been offered since the 1990s.
Pride’s outreach programs also take place in classrooms, and educational programming has been presented on the vessel in conjunction with major events such as Light City Baltimore, Star-Spangled Sailabration in 2012, and Star-Spangled Spectacular in 2014.