Mystic Seaport presented its 2017 America and the Sea Award to David Rockefeller Jr. and Sailors for the Sea. Given annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes individuals or organizations whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.
Rockefeller and Sailors for the Sea received the award October 11 at a gala dinner held in their honor in New York City.The America and the Sea Award Gala is the single largest fundraising event for the Museum. Proceeds from the event benefit the mission of the Museum to inspire an enduring connection to America’s maritime heritage.
Describing Rockefeller as, “an avid sailor and storied competitor, and a champion of the natural world,” Mystic Seaport Chairman Barclay Collins cited the common goals of the honorees and the Museum. “We have a shared mission to educate today’s youth, not only about the importance of our seas to our culture and growth as a nation, but also Sailors for the Sea’s focus on the fragility of our seas, and to actively enlist them in measures to protect that environment.”
A highlight of the evening was a “paddle raise” challenge to support the ongoing curation and conservation of the Rosenfeld Collection of maritime photography. Acquired by Mystic Seaport in 1984, it is one of the largest archives of maritime photographs in the United States with nearly one million pieces dating from 1881 to 1992. More than $120,000 was raised from the gathered guests to continue work on the collection.
David Rockefeller Jr., Chairman of Rockefeller & Co., is an active participant in the nonprofit arena, especially in the areas of the environment, the arts and philanthropy. He served as a member of the Pew Oceans Commission from 2000-2003, and he founded Sailors for the Sea to educate the recreational boating community about significant challenges to ocean health and to motivate them to become ocean stewards. Sailors for the Sea is located in Newport, RI, with satellite offices in Japan, Portugal, and Chile.
Rockefeller is a Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, the Asian Cultural Council and the David Rockefeller Fund. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Sailors for the Sea was founded as a collective rallying cry for a community that loves and is passionate about protecting the ocean. Since its start in 2004 by lifelong friends and sailors David Rockefeller Jr. and David Treadway, the non-profit organization has been inspiring and activating the sailing and boating community toward healing the ocean. Sailors for the Sea is a movement and pragmatic voice for action that addresses current environmental challenges including plastic pollution, ocean acidification, climate change and toxic chemicals that threaten marine life, our health—and the health of our children for generations to come. Their programs have been created to empower boaters to become catalysts for change while working to restore our ocean to the vibrant and bountiful resource it once was. To learn more about their work visit www.sailorsforthesea.org.
Past recipients of the America and the Sea Award include oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle, historian David McCullough, legendary yacht designer Olin Stephens, President and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation Thomas Crowley, philanthropist William Koch, former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, WoodenBoat Publications founder Jon Wilson, yachtsman and author Gary Jobson, maritime industrialist Charles A. Robertson, author Nathaniel Philbrick, and Rod and Bob Johnstone and their company J/Boats.