You may notice an unusual number of bright pink sails on the Charles River over the next month.
Community Boating Inc., the nonprofit public sailing center located on the Boston side of the river, is sporting pink sails on 20 of its boats in a partnership with EF Education First to raise money for a free program that teaches people with physical and cognitive disabilities to sail.
EF of Cambridge will donate $5 to Community Boating’s Universal Access Program for every mile its members sail in the pink boats during the next month, up to $20,000.
“We are very sincerely appreciative and excited that EF is partnering with us,” said Charlie Zechel, executive director of Community Boating. “Our goal is to get the pink sails out as much as possible. EF is also benefitting by having their color and logo out there in a tasteful and fun way.”
Zechel said the program fulfills the “sailing for all” mission of Community Boating by providing assistance and equipment usage to adults and children with the highest barriers of entry to the sport of sailing and who require more assistance on the water.
The nonprofit started the Universal Access Program in 2007 with seed funding from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Zechel said. From an initial 100 participants, the program now serves about 350 people today.
The adult and junior sailing programs at Community Boating are supported by membership fees from about 4,500 members. The programs also provide free or reduced memberships to low-income families.
But each year the nonprofit must seek donations to keep the free Universal Access Program afloat, which costs about $75,000 a year to operate. Zechel said the partnership with EF is among several new opportunities Community Boating is exploring to establish sustainable funding for the program.