The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum Has Liftoff

The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum Has Liftoff

Posted on January 10, 2017 by Mike Finney
Editor’s Note: A number of organizations participating in Margin & Mission Ignition -- The Patterson Foundation’s initiative designed to help nonprofits grow entrepreneurial capacity, boost revenue, and increase mission impact -- recently developed business plans to launch or grow an earned income venture. To help bring their business plans to life, each organization is seeking a financial “mission impact investment” from donors, funders, and investors toward their needed startup or growth capital required for successful implementation. As an added incentive, The Patterson Foundation offered a generous match opportunity to jumpstart each organization’s venture. Utilizing a variety of creative methods to reach their funding goals, here is how the Florida Maritime Museum crafted an end-of-year appeal letter to generate interest and support for its new Folk School.

During this time of year, many of us yearn for the comfort of home. The smell that only grandmothers can create wafting through the kitchen and the sheer feeling of relaxation that happens when you plop into your grandfather’s recliner (the one that you’re technically not supposed to sit in, but he sometimes looks the other way ). These feelings and so many more surround us during the holidays, even if we aren’t near family and even if those feelings are mere memories that we cannot, for one reason or another, ever experience again. I yearn for that throughout the year. The connection to our neighbors, our friends, our family, and our local communities should not be just for the holidays.

This is why the Florida Maritime Museum is opening a folk school. The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum will invoke those feelings throughout the year, not just during the holidays. By creating a place where anyone in the community can come, visitors or residents, to learn new skills or perhaps refresh on old ones, will bring back those moments with the people we love. Those memories or experiences where maybe we watched our mothers canning as a child but never paid close enough attention to learn. Maybe our fathers were fisherman, carpenters or farmers, but in a fast-changing society there just wasn’t time or the necessity to learn these traditional skills that formed early communities in Florida and throughout the world.

The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum will launch in January 2017 with classes like Memoir Writing, Preserving Family Photos, Net Mending, Fish Filleting, Canning, Wood Working and so many more throughout the year. The mission of the Florida Maritime Museum is to collect, preserve and share traditional knowledge, cultural artifacts and personal stories specific to Florida’s maritime heritage. This Folk School will allow the Florida Maritime Museum to take this mission another step further with hands-on skills classes formulated to not only learn skills but to share stories, build community and grow an appreciation for the history of Cortez and the greater surrounding area. Beyond that, we feel that the interactions that the Folk School will create between the public, local culture as well as the environment will be important in educating residents, visitors, and the thousands of new people moving here to better understand how they can preserve a way of life that is vanishing. This understanding will enhance and protect what we value most about the communities in which we live.

We already know that people are craving this connection with local history and community due to our past programming at the museum. Previous skills classes that have been offered have sold out and often been requested multiple times by the public. Residents, vacationers, and visitors alike all have been equally excited about participating.

And, like our students, the local community has also shown their support for this project. We are pleased to be able to share with you that for the rest of 2016 until January 31st, 2017, in an effort to expand the mission of the Florida Maritime Museum via the Folk School, The Patterson Foundation has generously offered their support in the form of a challenge match. This means that The Patterson Foundation will match dollar for dollar all funds received towards the Folk School, up to $33,500. In addition to this incredible opportunity, the Preston family has also generously provided their support in the form of an additional set of matching funds, up to $15,000. As a result, your gift of $100 becomes $300, and every gift matters to ensure the preservation of these traditional skills that are at risk of being lost in our ever changing society.

We are on the brink of a wonderful addition to the community, and you can be certain every dollar you give in support of the Florida Folk School at the Florida Maritime Museum will be meaningfully, measurably, and purposefully invested in making our community better.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and for this single moment of connection in our fast-paced society. On behalf of Board, staff, and volunteers we hope your holidays are filled with warmth and love.

Mike Finney
Board Chair


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