Schoonmaker Foundation Pledges $5 Million to US Sailing and Offers Matching Challenge


BRISTOL, R.I. (March 9, 2022) – The Florida-based Schoonmaker Foundation has pledged $5 million over the next five years to the US Sailing Foundation to create the James M. “Ding” Schoonmaker II Project Pinnacle Endowment Fund. They have also offered an additional $2.5 million challenge fund, giving individual donors, businesses, and foundations the opportunity to have their gifts matched dollar-for-dollar, bringing Schoonmaker’s gift to a total of $7.5 million and the Endowment to $10 million.

This transformative gift was made in memory of World Champion and National Sailing Hall of Famer, James M. “Ding” Schoonmaker, who passed away in January 2021 at the age of 87. “We are indebted to Ding’s wife, Treecie, and the entire Schoonmaker Board for entrusting us with this very special gift,” said US Sailing Association CEO Alan Ostfield. “It is an honor to carry on Ding’s legacy and engage with additional donors to promote excellence in competitive sailing in his name.”

Schoonmaker began sailing at an early age and claimed his first sailing victory when he was just 11. At 19, he placed second in the Olympic trials in the Star class and was named the team’s alternate in Helsinki. He earned that honor again in 1964 at the Games in Tokyo. Along the way, Schoonmaker won North American, South American, Western Hemisphere and European Championships, including the 1975 Star World Championship. He also won the Bacardi Cup a record eight times.

The Schoonmaker Endowment Fund will propel US Sailing’s Olympic program forward. Named Project Pinnacle, this ambitious program’s mission is to support US Athletes regaining and sustaining preeminence in Olympic sailing. Through laser-focused activities that address every aspect of competitive coaching, training and equipment, Project Pinnacle will bring American athletes back to the podium and build a pipeline of future champions.

Paul Cayard, Executive Director of US Olympic Sailing, sees the Schoonmaker gift as a call to action. “Treecie and the Schoonmaker Board have shown their confidence in the US Olympic team,” Cayard said. “By offering a challenge fund, they are inviting us all to invest in the future with them and make the quest for gold a reality. It’s a perfect way to honor Ding and cultivate American sailing prominence.”

You can help meet the Schoonmaker challenge and double your impact by making a gift at, by sending a check to the US Sailing Foundation at 1 Roger Williams University Way, Bristol, RI 02809, or by calling the US Sailing Foundation at 401-342-7922. For more information about transformative gift opportunities, please contact Chief Development Officer Jill Nosach at


About the US Sailing Foundation

The US Sailing Foundation is the fundraising arm of the US Sailing Association (USSA) and is committed to the advancement of the USSA in a variety of ways, including soliciting support for and promoting USSA programs and activities. The US Sailing Association determines strategy and develops campaigns, programs and activities that expand access and participation in sailing, promote excellence in training, and provide sailors opportunities for advancement to the highest levels of competition. For more information, visit

About US Sailing
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and advancement for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Bristol, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team. For more information, please visit