Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc.
SEMA was incorporated in Massachusetts on October 28, 2008 with the purpose of raising funds to provide for the maintenance, equipment, manning, programming and operation of the Schooner Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey as a sail training vessel, school ship, and educational enterprise.
During 2009 President Mary Anne McQuillan and Vice President Julius Britto worked with the Community Development Clinic at Southern New England School of Law to prepare application for 501c(3) not-for-profit status from the IRS. SEMA received a letter of determination from the IRS in February 2010 with 501c(3) not-for-profit status retroactive to the date of incorporation.
In November 2009 Bob Hildreth and Chuck Smiler issued a $15,000 challenge to SEMA to initiate the fundraising efforts. The campaign exceeded the challenge and during 2010 the directors continued reaching out to Ernestina’s supporters. A Charter Membership campaign was begun and, booths at the ComExpo in New Bedford, Cape Verdean Recognition Week activities and parade, the Cape Verdean Festival in Onset, the Maritime Festival in Salem, Maritime Heritage Festival in Gloucester and Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford all helped tell Ernestina’s story and make new friends for the ship.
SEMA has acquired the www.ernestina.org website. This new site includes the original site developed by Eric Swanzey and maintained by Gregg Swanzey until 2005.
A frequent newsletter, emailed through Constant Contact was started in spring, 2010 as well as a Facebook page for Schooner Ernestina Morrissey Association.
In the summer of 2010, SEMA, in partnership with the Schooner Ernestina Commission, the New Bedford Whaling National Historical park and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, began planning a Forum to discuss Ernestina’s future.
The Forum was held on October 30, 2010, hosted by the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Details of the proceedings are published in “News-Forum.”