Clearwater Needs Funding to Keep Seeger Sloop Afloat

Onboard education programs are a core part of the Sloop’s mission Photo > Chelsea Anan

Now in its 55th season, the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a cherished emblem of environmental stewardship, and the creation of legendary folk singer Pete Seeger in his quest to help save the Hudson, faces a short-term funding crisis putting the organization’s continued operations in jeopardy.  

“We have made great progress repositioning the organization coming out of the challenges of the pandemic,” said Samantha Hicks, President of the Board of Directors and former Captain of the sloop. “However, this spring we are grappling with a critical need for short-term bridge funding to allow programs to continue uninterrupted, while we focus on mid-term fundraising and building a sustainable business model.”  

Clearwater has faced periods of extreme financial difficulty throughout its history, including most recently during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

In 2022, Clearwater hired David Toman to assist the organization in overcoming the financial challenges brought about by the pandemic and exacerbated by higher operating expenses. “We had a record-setting gala and increased sloop bookings,” said Toman, “but it takes time to cultivate revenue sources, and the increases have not yet sufficed to bridge the gap between expected income and looming expenses.” 

“The immediate goal is to raise $250,000 to ensure our programs can run through the year without interruptions,” explained Hicks. Clearwater has reached out to supporters and the community at-large, urging them to contribute towards the $250,000 needed, and has raised $85,000 so far.  

In addition to immediate financial contributions, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater is seeking partners interested in establishing a long-term legacy through substantial donations or the creation of an endowment. Such visionary support would provide a stable financial foundation, enabling Clearwater to thrive and expand its critical environmental initiatives well into the future.  

The loss of the Sloop Clearwater would represent a devastating blow to the Hudson Valley, both ecologically and culturally. “The Hudson River without the Sloop Clearwater is unthinkable,” Hicks stated. “It’s not just about saving a boat; it’s about preserving and continuing a legacy of environmental stewardship, education, and advocacy that is vital to our community.” 

Donations can be made at

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