Crew raises remarkable $200,000 in 2018

Joanna Chait

The Wilson Crew team raised $200,000 in fundraising efforts last year, smashing seasonal goals and bankrolling new initiatives for the team.

“We are not funded by DCPS because we are technically a ‘club’ even though we are associated with the school obviously,” said varsity captain Evelyn Smyth, explaining the need for such focused fundraising.

The success is attributed to The Crew Boosters Board, a nonprofit organization that runs a number of fundraisers throughout the year. Fundraising efforts include events such as the Winter Ball, a variety of sales, as well as collecting donations from corporations, alumni, local businesses, grants and through GoFundMe. In September the board raised $15,000 through a GoFundMe account.

Most recently, the students raised $30,000 through the sale of their Hanukkah bundle and Christmas wreaths. The Hanukkah bundle includes gelt and enough candles to last all of the eight nights. Members of the Novice team had to raise $200 each, and for Varsity $250 each, from selling Christmas wreaths and the Hanukkah bundle. That money will go toward two new boats, one for the boys team and one for the girls team.

The Boosters Board also organized a Christmas tree sale at Broad Branch Market, from which the team was able to keep all of the proceeds. In addition to the holiday sales, the rowers sell plants in the spring.

The Board coordinates events in addition to the sales. Every year, The Board hosts a Winter Bash, which is a fundraising event for parents, alumni, and the community. This year, it will be on March 1 with “A Night in Paris” as the theme.

Fundraising helps pay for about two thirds of the crew team’s annual $300,000 budget. “ We have a very large budget that includes all of our own equipment expenses, six coaches, the boathouse rack rentals, insurance, entry fees and more. Most importantly, we raise money for scholarships for students with financial needs,” said Alix Patterson, co-president of The Crew Boosters Board.

“We take kids from every DCPS school, because none of the other schools have teams,” Smyth explained. The team raises money so that crew can be an accessible sport for everyone. They prioritize providing discounts on the $400-$500 crew entry fee, because they don’t want money to be a limitation.

The team planned many more fundraising events than previous years. They are planning a Chipotle fundraiser in which 33 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the crew team, and the boys team raised money by shoveling snow.

Over February break, the crew team is planning on traveling to Florida for a competition. The trip is outside the team’s budget so extra funding will be necessary.