When the founders of Marinas International (MI) set out on their venture nearly 30 years ago, the cornerstone of their business model was not only to operate and manage marinas, but to build communities around the marina lifestyle. That same principle carries through their environmental and charitable efforts as individuals, as a company and as good citizens.
Marinas International Corporate participates in a number of activities and fundraisers year-round in the very philanthropic Dallas-Ft. Worth market. Putting its spin on philanthropy, Marinas international founded and hosts an annual fundraising event called Lakefest. “When we first thought up the idea for Lakefest, our dream was to bring together the community members where we work and live for a greater good,” said Shannon Funk, vice president of marketing. “However, we wanted to distinguish ourselves from others; we wanted to be affordable and above all we wanted 100% of the proceeds to go back to the charity.”
To date, Lakefest has raised over $500,000 benefiting various nonprofit organizations including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Legacy Brain Foundation and the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health. The featured event includes a country music concert at one of their local marinas and has spotlighted some of the biggest names on the Texas country music scene like the Eli Young Band, Jack Ingram, Wade Bowen, Roger Creager, Stoney Larue, Robert Earl Keen and Johnny Cooper; just to name a few. Since boating is a big part of the Marinas international lifestyle and the event draws thousands to the lake to help deserving charities, it also presents opportunity for attendees to learn about boating safety and clean-water initiatives. Having reached its 10-year milestone, the event is going strong with key partnerships for 2015 including Safeway and Amazon.
Charitable spirit spills down through the Marinas international organization to its many locations throughout the country. Many carry the honorable distinction as “Clean Marinas.” The Clean Marinas program is an ongoing endeavor by a marina industry alliance determined to provide environmentally clean facilities and protect the states’ coastal and inland waters from pollution. Marinas International also participates in an annual shore clean-up operation and donates time, manpower and resources to keep the waterways clean for the next generation of boaters.
Local causes also tug at the heartstrings of Marinas International’s managers. Aqualand Marina on Georgia’s Lake Lanier held a fundraiser during its “Farewell to Summer 2014” member appreciation party, where all funds donated were used to offset medical costs for three firefighters who were seriously injured due to an aerial ladder truck collapse. “These heroes risk life and limb for our families every day,” said Patrick Kenney, general manager at Aqualand Marina. “The boating community is one of the most dedicated and committed groups to giving back and to standing up for those who are victims of illness or injury.”