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Alexandria Seaport Foundation receives $50K grant at Economic Club event with guest Warren Buffett | Business

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Alexandria Seaport Foundation receives $50K grant at Economic Club event with guest Warren Buffett
Alexandria Seaport Foundation receives $50K grant at Economic Club event with guest Warren Buffett

Buffett and David Rubenstein, The Economic Club of Washington, DC's President, are among business leaders at 25th anniversary celebration on June 5th where 10 community organizations, including the Alexandria Seaport Foundation, received a total of $500,000 in grants

The Alexandria Seaport Foundation (ASF), which offers disadvantaged youth and young adults a paid, work-based apprentice program in boat building that prepares participants for careers in the building trades, received a $50,000 grant from The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. at its 25th anniversary on June 5th at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

Kent Barnekov, ASF executive director and Dearndrey Mobley, ASF apprentice, were on stage to receive the grant with ASF Instructor Esteban "Steve" Hernandez also in attendance. Mobley of Alexandria, VA, whose brother graduated from the program years ago and now is in the Coast Guard in Alaska, and Hernandez, also an ASF apprentice graduate, former Marine, current college student and Woodbridge, VA resident, are examples of the positive effects of this VA-based organization.

"We are thrilled to have been selected by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. as one of 10 area non-profits to receive this generous award,” Barnekov said. “The Economic Club's recognition of the importance of programs serving this population is extremely gratifying.”

Besides offering paid apprenticeships for building boats, ASF also provides apprentices the opportunity to earn a GED if needed. "At a time when state and local funding for GED programs is at risk, this grant from The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. will help ASF continue to include in its Apprentice Program this crucial ingredient for success in the workplace," Barnekov added.

Economic Club member Andrew Blair, president and CEO of Colonial Parking, nominated the Alexandria Seaport Foundation to receive the grant because, he said, the nominations called for recognizing groups that prepare underserved youth in the D.C. area for success in school, the workplace and life. "It would have been hard not to think of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation because that is exactly what they are doing," said Blair, who has been active in local efforts to prepare the workforce for business success.

Additionally, ASF builds boat kits that are sold nationally for use in classrooms as well as to corporations for team building, while scrap wood is used to make foldable, wooden lawn chairs for adults and children, small side tables, and storage boxes. ASF’s two-year project is the building of Dory boats that will be launched this summer. Another current project is the development and building of art easels. All projects are led by ASF instructors and community volunteers, including retired corporate executives, retired law enforcement officers and current college students, to implement ASF’s motto: Building Boats. Building Lives.

ASF also helps other organizations and nonprofits, such as Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, to repair wooden boats. Project Healing Waters assists in the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active duty military personnel through fly fishing, fly fishing education and outings.

Some highlights of the Economic Club’s anniversary celebration was the dialogue between David Rubenstein, president of The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. and co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, and Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. They discussed the economy and Buffett’s rise to billionaire status as well as his philanthropic efforts. “My surplus wealth has no utility to me,” Buffett said.

The Economic Club Board members considered a total of 138 different community organizations as possible recipients of the 10 $50,000 grants. The nine additional organizations selected to receive grants were: KIPP DCMaya Angelou SchoolsBrainfoodBUILD DCE.L. Haynes Public Charter SchoolJubilee JumpStart/Jubilee HousingLatin American Youth CenterUrban Alliance, and Year Up National Capital Region.