Over time, the Swim grew in popularity, eventually swelling to 100 swimmers in 2008. By 2010, the Swim was raising more than $50,000 each year.
Around that time, a passionate open-water swimmer and West Falmouth resident named Larry Fish attended the Swim. Fish – the former chairman and CEO of Citizens Financial Group – instantly saw the power and potential of the event. He created a three-year, $75,000 challenge grant from his Fish Family Foundation that propelled the Swim to reach an all-time high of 262 swimmers in 2013.
Why track these participation numbers? The continued growth of the Buzzards Bay Swim is critical to our mission of protecting and restoring clean water in Buzzards Bay. As part of the Swim, members and supporters like you fundraise in a fun and dynamic outdoor setting that showcases the importance of this mission. Swimmers tell personal stories about why they care about our Bay and invite hundreds of new people into the conversation every year.
Our goal is to fill the course to capacity by 2020 – that’s 400 registered swimmers – and raise more than $200,000 every year. Those goals are within reach.
To help us get there, Larry Fish is issuing another multi-year challenge that will ultimately bring $200,000 in matching grant funds from the Fish Family Foundation – but only if we meet these annual goals.
How will we do it? One Swim at a time. Over the next eight weeks, together, we’ll work to achieve our 2017 goal by registering a total of 340 swimmers and raising $135,000 by the day of the Swim on Saturday, June 24. If we do, we’ll unlock the first $25,000 of the grant.
We can definitely do it. More than 230 swimmers are already signed up, and they’ve already raised $24,000 (and counting). That means we only have 110 swimmers and $111,000 left to go!
Here are two ways you can help:
- Register for the Buzzards Bay Swim (or encourage a friend to!): If you can swim for 40-50 minutes continuously at a comfortable pace, then you can sign up for this exciting event. If you’re not a swimmer, then share this story to recruit any swimmers you might know. If 100 people brought in just one new person, we’d meet our goal!
- Donate to a swimmer today. Make a surprise donation to one of the top 100 swimmers – it will encourage them to keep working hard to fundraise. Alternatively, you can make a general donation to the Swim. Every dollar truly counts to help reach our goal.
We need you this year more than ever before. Thank you for your help and support, and thank you to the Fish Family Foundation for their generosity and for believing in the Buzzards Bay Swim.
Larry Fish will be swimming in his 10th Buzzards Bay Swim this year, earning a coveted Cuttyhunk Award (10 Buzzards Bay Swims is 12 miles, or the distance from New Bedford to Cuttyhunk Island). You can join us, Larry, and all the swimmers on June 24 from 7:30-9:30am at the finish line beach party at Fort Phoenix State Reservation, which includes a hot pancake breakfast, gourmet coffee, and an awards ceremony for these hard-working swimmers.
If you’d like to help, or have ideas or questions, please contact Event Manager Deb Hood at (508) 999-6363 x207.