Seafarers’ House Launches $4.5 Million Place of Welcome Capital Campaign

Nick Weir, VP of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean International; Gala Co-chair Eugene Sweeney; Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International; Lesley Warrick, Seafarers' House Executive Director; and Ann Burris Gala co-chair

Seafarers’ House at Port Everglades has launched the public phase of its “Place of Welcome” Campaign to build a new home for the mariners who visit the port, according to a statement.

The announcement was made at its annual Golden Compass Gala on May 19, honoring President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley, who announced that the cruise line is committing $500,000 to the campaign.

The three-year, $4.5 million fundraising effort will allow Seafarers’ House to build a new facility, as well as provide a way to sustain the operations of programs and services offered to meet the ever-expanding needs of mariners who visit the port.

Seafarers’ House is a special place for all mariners and we thank them for extending their hospitality to our crew during their time at sea,” said Bayley. “We are especially delighted to support Seafarers’ House at Port Everglades’ whose new facility will serve so many of our crewmembers while calling at Fort Lauderdale.”

The new 15,000-square-foot building will be constructed on an expanded footprint at the same location as the existing building inside Port Everglades.

“For 26 years, Seafarers’ House has operated out of temporary structures that have long since outlived their lifespan and are inadequate to address the needs of today's maritime community,” said Executive Director Lesley Warrick. “Thanks to this generous gift from Royal Caribbean, as well as other long-time supporters, we are on our way to realizing a decades-old dream.”

Several other organizations also have stepped up with lead gifts including: Carnival Cruise Lines; Cliff Berry, Inc.; Holland America Line; Princess Cruises; SEACOR Holdings, Inc.; The ITF Seafarers’ Trust; and The TK Foundation.

Seafarers’ House welcomes nearly 150,000 mariners annually, providing them with practical resources, emergency assistance and access to faith-based counseling and services and resources 365 days a year.

“Seafarers' House plays an integral role in the safety and care of the human resource behind this great economic engine and it is imperative that we grow to meet the needs. This world-class port deserves a world-class seafarers' center,” said Board President Eugene “Gene” Sweeney.

The new campus will include a meditation garden, expanded recreation areas, improved shopping, training and meeting space and an indoor/outdoor cafe, along with WiFi throughout the space, wire transfer services and a chapel for multidenominational services.

The groundbreaking will take place mid 2019, according to a statement. 

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