11th Hour Racing Ambassadors Choose to Work with Non-profits Near Their Hometowns

Sailors share their passion for protecting local waterways

11th Hour Racing announced today three new grantees within its Ambassador Program, which is comprised of a community of marine industry professionals committed to ocean health, and representing many sections of the sport of sailing: 

  • East Bay Sailing Foundation chosen by Ambassador John Mollicone;
  • Mystic Aquarium chosen by Ambassador Anthony Kotoun;
  • The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve chosen by Ambassador Elizabeth Kratzig.

A fourth grantee, Chicago Maritime Arts Center, has been chosen for the second year running by Ambassador Dave Rearick.

All 11th Hour Racing Ambassadors have the opportunity to work with a non-profit organization of their choice, focusing on specific ocean health projects. While these collaborations are an important element of 11th Hour Racing’s mission and programmatic strategy, they also empower the Ambassadors to act as real changemakers in their communities and use their influence to unite their fans and peers around shared values.

“I am thrilled to see the range of grantees and the solutions they bring to the table for solving a multitude of dynamic environmental issues faced by our ocean, bays, and the Great Lakes,” said Michelle Carnevale, Grant Program Director, 11th Hour Racing. “As our Ambassador grant program continues to grow, it is exciting and rewarding to see how these professional athletes are driving change in their communities while embracing the role of ocean stewards.”

Chicago Maritime Arts Center (Chicago, IL) works to increase access, respect, understanding, and appreciation for maritime arts, local waterways, and the environment among communities in Chicago, IL. This program is the first youth boat building program in the city, and its afterschool and summer camp programs are quickly gaining popularity. This grant marks the second year that 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Dave Rearick (Chesterton, IN) has worked with the organization, bringing his stories from sailing around the world to the students.

East Bay Sailing Foundation (Bristol, RI) is a public community sailing center and sailing training program offering classes for both children and adults in Bristol, RI. Together with 11th Hour Racing Ambassador John Mollicone (Providence, RI), head sailing coach at Brown University, the organization will install and test the use of an electric outboard engine to determine if this cleaner technology can be a feasible option for coach boats — taking into account safety and speed issues — for yacht clubs, college sailing teams, and sailing centers.

Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, CT) is well known for its stunning aquarium, home to more than 300 species, allowing children and adults alike to fall in love with the underwater world. But its mission goes well beyond the facility, with programs that work to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean through conservation, education, and research. Inspired by 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Anthony Kotoun’s (Newport, RI) passion for fishing, Mystic Aquarium will help foster connections between the recreational fishing community and the coastal ecosystems to increase environmental stewardship.

Volunteers remove marine debris from the shoreline. Photo Credit: Mystic Aquarium

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (Port Aransas, TX) is expanding its citizen science program to map plastic pellets (often called nurdles) around the Gulf of Mexico, with the ultimate goal of empowering change at the state and federal level to end this type of pollution. Having witnessed first-hand the scale of the nurdles issue on the beaches of her hometown in Corpus Christi, TX, 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Elizabeth Kratzig (Miami, FL) decided to learn more and select an organization that could engage her local community to take action against this environmental threat.

Nurdle patrol volunteers sorting through marine debris by hand. Photo Credit: University of Texas Marine Science Institute

For more information on 11th Hour Racing’s grantmaking strategy and application process visit:

Header image photo credit: Chicago Maritime Arts Center