SEMA Vision for Ernestina-Morrissey’s Future
Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association Vision Statement
The Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. (SEMA) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation 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.
On October 30, 2010, over 200 diverse peoples — from as far as Newfoundland and Philadelphia — sailors, Cape Verdean-Americans, civic and business leaders, educators and students convened at the New Bedford Whaling Museum to discuss the future of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey. The resounding consensus was that “something special happens” when you are aboard Ernestina-Morrissey; she is a “one-of-a-kind” historic ship that we cannot allow to deteriorate.
While SEMA’s main purpose is to raise funds, SEMA also plays an important role as a convener and voice for the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey’s various constituents. SEMA believes it is increasingly important, as the ship has increasing maintenance needs, that it is publicly known how SEMA envisions the ship’s future. SEMA offers a vision to help consolidate the various reasons why SEMA and many others are committed to supporting this historic vessel, despite the fact that the organization does not own or operate it. SEMA offers the vision now because time is of the essence – the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey needs attention quickly before her maintenance situation worsens.
The long history of this vessel reflects many facets of Massachusetts’ past and present from global maritime trade, fishing, exploration and science, shipbuilding, war-time service, to sail training and education. Indeed, the most recent active years of her history have been in educational service for students of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
SEMA’s vision is to see this unique function, as an educational service provider in and around Massachusetts, reborn in the best way possible within the next two years. SEMA feels strongly, based on information from maritime experts, that the wisest and most effective path to Ernestina-Morrissey’s rebirth is one that results in a ship that is actively sailing. It is important to SEMA and Ernestina-Morrissey’s many supporters that all her histories are honored in her educational service:
1) Grand Banks fishing schooner
2) Arctic explorer
3) U.S. Naval ship
4) Cape Verdean trans-Atlantic packet
SEMA believes that the critical, time-sensitive task of defining resources required for Ernestina-Morrissey’s restoration should encompass a thorough and skillful refit and concurrent development of the finest educational and sailing programs possible.
In the next six months, the following actions are necessary to produce SEMA’s vision:
1) A partnership (Memorandum of Understanding or similar document) where SEMA will have a voice regarding the use of the ship.
2) A convening of the various entities with an interest in the ship’s future, resulting in a proposal that will outline a repair and long-term maintenance plan as well as future educational uses of the ship.
3) Unearthing a large matching donation(s) to the $700,000 challenge gift put forth by the Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation, presumably resulting from the aforementioned long-term maintenance and usage proposal.
There are difficult steps that need to be taken, but once we move forward, Ernestina-Morrissey will shine brighter as an experiential and inspirational beacon of Massachusetts’ global maritime heritage for generations to come.