In 1982, among many black-tie fundraisers, the Hospice Cup broke new ground. Volunteers fundraising for a Virginia hospice and a small group of sailors organized a fun race from Annapolis, Maryland, to the St. Michaels, Maryland.Read More
The organizers, including Virginia Brown , Josephine Erkiletian, and prominent sailor Al Van Metre, were surprised at their own success. The first hospice regatta, called the “Hospice Cup”, was organized in 1982 in Annapolis, Maryland, to benefit a hospice in Northern Virginia.
More than 30 years later, Hospice Cup is still going strong. It now benefits multiple hospices serving communities in Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland. Several Annapolis yacht clubs manage the sailboat racing with one sailing club organizing the race with the assistance from the other clubs.
The event is run by an all-volunteer board of an independent non-profit, Hospice Cup, Inc. Organizing this way has allowed the event to easily adjust over the years to changes in benefiting hospices and clubs managing the race. While the number of hospices benefiting from the regatta has varied over the years, incorporating Hospice Cup as an independent non-profit organizations has allowed the event to be more flexible than if it were governed by any one hospice or racing organization.
Incorporated or not, successful hospice regattas are often led primarily by volunteer groups that frees hospice staff to focus on attracting sponsors, reaching out to people who don’t sail, and communicating about Hospice care. It also frees the racing organizers to focus on race management and communicating to the sailing community .Read Less
As Hospice Cup thrived — and Hospice services grew nationwide — the volunteers of Hospice Cup, Inc. received numerous requests for assistance from other communities, hospices and sailboat racers.Read More
Virginia Brown stepped up and became unofficial ambassador to numerous communities that wanted to develop their own hospice regattas.
Each new regatta depended on its own local resources to succeed. By 1999, there were ten healthy and continuing regattas, with more interested in starting.
Artist Willard Bond
To perpetuate and share the many years of experience with hospice regattas, Virginia Brown and representatives of the existing hospice regattas formed the National Hospice Regatta Alliance in late 1999.Read More
The Alliance was formed in late 1999 in part to relieve Hospice Cup from responding to numerous requests for help establishing regattas in other locations, with Virginia Brown volunteering to help new regattas. Meeting with representatives from the 10 existing regattas, the Alliance was established in November 1999.
In May 2000, the Alliance hosted the first annual Hospice Regattas Championship at Annapolis, Maryland. Teams from each of the now twelve hospice regattas competed in this first-ever national sailing championship for charity.
Subsequent championships have been held at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Annapolis Maryland, Rochester, NY, and St. Petersburg, Florida.
The number of hospice regattas continues to grow, with over 25 members as of 2014. With an emphasis on each regatta being managed locally, some have started and faded, but new inquiries every year lead to new regattas, and to more hospices and communities benefiting from these events that are so different than most fundraising special events.Read Less