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Team Akzo Nobel launches fundraiser to help prepare next generation of sailors

Published: 28 November 2017 - Kiran Grewal

Team AkzoNobel, which is currently sailing around the world in its quest to win the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, is working to help a group of young sailors by launching a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the Bronx, NY-based non-profit Rocking the Boat. The money will be used to purchase a new rigid inflatable boat (RIB) for the organization, whose mission is to empower young people to develop self-confidence, set ambitious goals and gain the skills necessary to achieve them.

Skipper Simeon Tienpont and members of team AkzoNobel visited Rocking the Boat in the Bronx this past summer for a day of sailing, sustainability and boat building activities. The motto for the non-profit is, "Kids don't just build boats, boats build kids," and Tienpont and his team saw first-hand how the organization helps inspire their students, who mostly live in what is considered the third poorest zip code in the United States.

"Some of our sailing team members spent an entire day with th

Bill Collins, Group Controller for AkzoNobel
Bill Collins, Group Controller for AkzoNobel's Paints & Coatings business (left) and Simeon Tienpont, Skipper of team AkzoNobel, present kids from Rocking the Boat with one of three sails Akzo Nobel donated to the non-profit during a visit to Rocking the Boat in July 2017.

ese kids. We wanted to help motivate them by teaching them sailing skills we have learned throughout our career, and by talking with them about how sailing has helped us to achieve our life goals," said Tienpont. "We were all deeply impressed by the kids' dedication and commitment to sailing as well as their ambition to succeed, and I believe we left Rocking the Boat even more inspired by them than they were by us."

Rocking the Boat's sailing site is located at the mouth of the Bronx River, almost a mile away by water from the organization's boatyard and classroom facility. Students are ferried daily out to the site using two small RIBs that cannot accommodate the non-profit's growing number of students. A new RIB will give these kids more time to receive on-water sailing instruction.

"We had a great time welcoming Simeon and his crew to Rocking the Boat last summer. They are now part of our extended family, and we are genuinely appreciative of team AkzoNobel for continuing their relationship with us and for launching this campaign," said Adam Green, Executive Director of Rocking the Boat.

The goal for the GoFundMe campaign is to raise $37,500 to allow Rocking the Boat to purchase a new 20-foot RIB, providing the increased capacity needed to transport all students to the sailing site at one time. Specialized content and social media strategy for this campaign was donated by the global creative ad agency SuperHeroes, which has offices in Amsterdam and New York. Those interested in donating can visit https://www.gofundme.com/teamakzo-rtb.

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