Friday, December 1, 2023

What is the Coast Guard Community Foundation?

This was the first year that Coast Guard personnel did not have to wear their uniforms to the Coast Guard Ball

This was the first year that Coast Guard personnel did not have to wear their uniforms to the Coast Guard Ball, which is put on every year by the Coast Guard Community Foundation in conjunction with the Coast Guard. 

By From the Coast Guard Community Foundation

The Cape May County Coast Guard Community Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was formed in 2015 with the goal of creating a strong bond between the U.S. Coast Guard and the community.  
The mission of the Foundation is to nurture the relationship between Coast Guard members, their families, Recruits, and the community by developing programs, supporting the efforts of other organizations, and facilitating active engagement between the Coast Guard and Cape May County. Our vision is to create and maintain a vibrant and welcoming “hometown” for Coast Guard personnel, their families and Recruits.  
Our Community Events  
2023 – A Year of Celebration 
This year we will recognize the milestone of the 75th Anniversary of Recruit Training at US Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. Join us at Coast Guard community events to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.  
The Coast Guard Community Festival is presented by the Foundation and takes place at US Coast Guard Training Center Cape May during the month of May each year. The festival has been known to welcome up to 5,000 guests during each year that it has been held. After a 3-year hiatus due to Covid-19 and unfortunate weather, we are happy to welcome back this family friendly and FREE event on May 20th, 2023.  
Festival activities include:  
· Search & rescue demonstrations, courtesy of nearby Air Station Atlantic City  
· An educational trolley tour of the base  
· Ship tours of cutters homeported at TRACEN, plus visiting sea craft  
· Interaction with Coast Guard Recruits and personnel stationed at various Festival activities  
· Food, music, vendors, and games 
As well as providing an educational opportunity for guests, the intention of the festival is to celebrate Coast Guard Service Members and their families. As a thank you and a sign of support, the Foundation provides lunch coupons to all Active-Duty military that attend the festival.  
The Southern New Jersey Coast Guard Ball is another event that initiates the bond between Coast Guard members and the community. Since its inception in 2017, the Ball has been open to members of the public, is hosted by the Foundation and supported by dedicated community partners. This ceremonial event honors the service and sacrifice of our Coast Guard members and allows them to let loose and enjoy a night full of VIP Guest Speakers, food, fun and dancing. This year the Southern New Jersey Coast Guard Ball will take place on April 29, 2023.  
The Always Ready 5K, new to our event roster in 2022, gathered running enthusiasts from Cape May County and beyond. This event brought together Coast Guard members, their families, running groups and sponsors. Participants were given the unique opportunity to run through an Active-Duty military base, not to mention soak in the beautiful views of Cape May Harbor. The conditions were perfect for an amazing Inaugural Race. We look forward to bringing this event back on October 14, 2023.
Foundation Programs
Not only do we support our mission with community-based events, we also have developed programs that meet the needs of our Active-Duty families and Recruits.  
Our charter program, the Community Activity Program reimburses Coast Guard families for the registration fees associated with community-based activities such as dance, gymnastics, cooking classes and sports. The purpose of this program is to give back to Coast Guard families and to help them feel welcome and supported by the community. 
New in 2022, the Backpack Brigade Program was established to help Active-Duty Coast Guard families get a jump start on the next school year for their school age children. This program provided backpacks donated by Operation Homefront with a starter kit of supplies provided by Dollar Tree Inc. with help from the North Wildwood VFW Post 5941, as children headed back to school. The Foundation’s intention is to assist our Coast Guard families with this costly task. We held a distribution event in mid-August and provided ice cream to the families and community volunteers. 
The Seamanship Award Program began in 2021 in partnership with U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 08-02 in Cape May. This program provides funding for the Marlinspike Rigging Knives that are presented at each graduation to the recruit who demonstrates the highest degree of proficiency during the Seamanship phase of training. We are excited to continue this special program for our graduating recruits in 2023.
What else does the foundation do?
– FINS Sunday Social participant and beneficiary 
-“Salute to the Coast Guard” at the MudHen Brewing Company in Wildwood with the release of a Coast Guard themed beer.
– The Burke Motor Group Car, Truck & Cycle Show
– Donation in support of the LCMR After-Prom
– Donor of a Coast Guard Dedication Garden Project at the LCM Little League Fields
– Support of the annual Catch of Cape May – Nature Center Cape May
– Donation of Wawa gift cards for the Stockings for Recruits Progra
What have we done in the past?  
Contribution to Commissioning Celebrations for new Fast Response Cutters that are homeported in Cape May, including the USCGC Lawrence Lawson, Rollin Fritch, and Angela McShan.
Donation to support the construction of the U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial at Training Center Cape May.
While the Foundation is supportive of the Coast Guard and participates in activities at Training Center Cape May, it is not part of the Coast Guard or U.S. Military, but rather is a private non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Coast Guard and other local organizations. We are proud to be just one part of our vibrant Coast Guard Community!

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