May 9, 2024

Beacon, NY – The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a cherished emblem of environmental stewardship, now in its 55th season, faces a short-term funding crisis putting the organization’s continued operations in jeopardy.

“To be candid, this is usually one of my favorite times of the year; Clearwater is back on the river educating students from across the region and serves as a reminder of our collective commitment to protect and steward the Hudson. We have made great progress repositioning the organization coming out of the challenges of the pandemic, however, this spring, we are grappling with a critical need for short-term bridge funding to allow programs to continue uninterrupted, while we focus on mid-term fundraising and building a sustainable business model,” said Samantha Hicks, President of the Board of Directors and former Captain of the sloop.

Clearwater has faced periods of extreme financial difficulty throughout its history, including most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the organization undertook a strategic planning process, identifying the need to prioritize careful management and financial stability, and to hire an executive director with a background in financial management.

In 2022, Clearwater hired David Toman to assist the organization in overcoming the financial challenges brought about by the pandemic and exacerbated by increasing operating expenses. “By and large, Clearwater has made great strides toward financial stability and developing reliable and diverse funding streams.” said Toman “We had a record-setting gala and increased sloop bookings, but, it takes time to cultivate revenue sources, and these increases have not yet sufficed to bridge the gap between expected income and looming expenses.”

“The immediate goal is to raise $250,000 to ensure our programs can run through the year without interruptions,” explained Hicks. “This will also allow us time to convene an advisory committee to develop a sustainable long-term business plan and prevent such crises in the future.”

In response to this crisis, Clearwater has reached out to supporters and the community at-large, urging them to contribute towards the $250,000 needed, and has raised $85,000 so far.
In addition to immediate financial contributions, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater is actively seeking partners interested in establishing a long-term legacy through substantial donations or the creation of an endowment. Such visionary support would provide a stable financial foundation, enabling Clearwater to thrive and expand its critical environmental initiatives well into the future. This opportunity for major donors to play a transformative role in securing the sloop’s future will not only preserve this historical and environmental treasure but also solidify a commitment to sustainability and education for generations to come.

The loss of the sloop Clearwater would represent a devastating blow to the Hudson Valley, both ecologically and culturally. “The Hudson River without the Sloop Clearwater is unthinkable,” Hicks stated. “It’s not just about saving a boat; it’s about preserving and continuing a legacy of environmental stewardship, education, and advocacy that is vital to our community.”

Donations can be made at, and interested parties are encouraged to contact Clearwater for more information or to get directly involved.


About Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
In 1966, folk singer Pete Seeger and a group of activists decided to “build a boat to save the river” by bringing together communities across the region to protect and restore the Hudson River. Three years later, the sloop Clearwater set sail with a mission to save the Hudson through education, advocacy, and music, a mission Hudson River Sloop Clearwater continues to champion today. To date, more than half a million people have experienced the beauty of the Hudson River aboard Clearwater. For more information, visit


Media Contact:
Jen Benson
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