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Polynesian Voyaging Society receives grant from 11th Hour Racing for environmental project

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  • The Polynesian Voyaging Society was one of five organizations to receive grants this year from 11th Hour Racing for environmental projects. Photo Courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society
  • This year the Polynesian Voyaging Society will engage student navigators in storm training and the ancient science of non-instrument, wayfinding navigation while sailing through the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel between the islands of Maui and Hawai’i in preparation for crossing the Pacific Ocean. Photo Courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society
  • The Polynesian Voyaging Society will use its grant money on a project that will galvanize action on climate change and inspire ocean protection. Photo Courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society

11th Hour Racing awarded the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawai’i and four other organizations around the country with $255,000 in grants for environmental projects. They are funded by The Schmidt Family Foundation.

Polynesian Voyaging Society received a $30,000 grant. The funds will be used to engage student navigators in storm training and the ancient science of non-instrument, wayfinding navigation while sailing through the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel between the islands of Maui and Hawai’i. It is in preparation for the society’s Moananuiākea Voyage: a five-year circumnavigation of the Pacific Ocean, covering 41,000 miles, 345 ports, 46 countries and archipelagoes, and 100 indigenous territories. It starts in Hawaiʻi.

The goal is to inspire, educate and elevate a new generation of 10 million navigators by the end of the voyage in 2026, young people who can lead the many different kinds of bold voyages our Earth needs now, with the mindset, preparation and courage to face the coming storms, and the resilience to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world, according to the society’s website.


The Polynesian Voyaging Society was launched in 1975 with Hōkūle’a, a double-hulled sailing canoe that replicates a traditional Polynesian deep sea vessel. It was built to debunk common theory that the Hawaiian archipelago was discovered by chance and prove that Polynesians traversed the vast Pacific purposefully, using elements of nature such as the sun, clouds, currents and bird migrations to set waypoints in ocean navigation.

11th Hour Racing works to mobilize sailing, maritime and costal communities with an innovative approach to inspire solutions for the ocean, according to a news release. The organization’s grant strategy focuses on pilot programs that model sustainability best practices, advance ocean stewardship and create systemic change to restore ocean health.

“At 11th Hour Racing, we believe that building a community committed to ocean stewardship and environmental sustainability starts with meaningful experiences for young people, particularly for communities that historically have had less access to the ocean,” said Michelle Carnevale, vice president of programming. “We know that experiencing oceans, rivers and lakes firsthand and seeing all of the natural wonders our planet offers can be inspirational and lead to community-wide participation in sustainable initiatives. We are proud to support these organizations that provide these experiences for young people along with pathways to future career opportunities.”


The other grant winners:

  • Baltimore Compost Collective in Maryland is a residential food scrap collection service with a youth entrepreneurship program that employs local teenagers and trains them in workforce skills, food sustainability programming and community-scale composting. The workers receive guided, hands-on experience by managing a small-scale composting operation. The compost they create is used in their local community garden to grow fresh produce. It received a $55,000 grant.
  • Gather New Haven in Connecticut hosts the Schooner Camp to teach students ages 6-14 experiential STEAM education with an environmental focus. The organization will develop a new curriculum incorporating composting and extending its marine ecology and on-water education activities into a year-round initiative. It also leads a Growing Entrepreneurs Program that empowers high school students to develop small-scale green ventures through urban farms, composting and carpentry activities. It received a $40,000 grant.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in Rhode Island nourishes, educates and supports Newport County residents to improve their economic, social and physical well-being. It provides student scholarships and will expand educational opportunities within its Early Childhood and After-School Academy childcare programs. MLK Center has recently added programs focused on movement and mindfulness, outdoor experiential learning, STEAM education and environmental education. It received an $80,000 grant.
  • Movement Education Outdoors in Rhode Island provides youth of color and who have limited economic resources with equitable access to experience the outdoors. The organization will expand its Agua Day Camp for students grades 6-8 and MEO Paddles for students grades 9-12 to develop water safety skills, environmental stewardship and place-based ecological and historical literacy. It received a $50,000 grant.

11th Hour Racing is accepting new grant applications through Jan. 31, 2022. The organization awards grants globally and welcomes international organizations to apply.  

Current grants are one year in length and typically range from $10,000 – $100,000, with an average grant size of $25,000. First-time grants to new organizations are generally smaller in size.


To learn more about 11th Hour Racing’s grant program, click here.


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