The Millennium Rowing Association, Inc. (“MRA”) was created as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization for the purpose of supporting and perpetuating the Winter Park High School Crew Team. It consists of a group of concerned parents, alumni and crew supporters formed to seek the support necessary to assure a permanent lakefront boathouse facility of the highest quality for the team.
The need for MRA’s organization became apparent in 1997 when the team was notified that it would soon lose its home of 20 years. Until that time, the team had been rowing from property on Lake Howell that the team was generously allowed to use at no expense by the Wilson and Coleman families. After those families sold their property, the team was obliged to find a new rowing venue at the close of the 1998 season. Locating a proper new home for the team was greatly complicated by the importance of certain attributes: lake front access at reasonable cost, sufficient parking for 100 students, appropriate safety characteristics, a lake with minimal boat traffic and having sufficient distances for rowing, suitable lake side shelter and space for the 12 boats, oars, trailers, ergometers and other equipment, and reasonable proximity to Winter Park High School.
A task force was founded to search for appropriate lake front property. Eventually a new location on Lake Howell was identified. The fund raising began in April of1998, and a commitment to purchase the property was made. MRA was then formed to take title to the property and to assure that the mortgage loan incurred to acquire the property would burden it instead of its sister organization, Winter Park Crew Boosters, Inc. This assured that the latter organization, which owns the team’s boats and other equipment, remained debt-free. The property was acquired for $300,000 in September 1998 and the planning and construction of an extraordinary new boathouse began. Mortgage loan payments, construction, and site improvements were made possible through generous contributions by families and friends. In the summer of 2000, the mortgage loan (originally provided by the property’s seller) was refinanced through a bank, providing favorable terms.
The ongoing costs of operating MRA include utilities, ground maintenance, required site improvements, repairs and insurance. Much, but not all, of these expenses are covered by monthly rental payments made by Winter Park Crew Boosters, Inc., which leases the property from MRA.
Both MRA and Winter Park Crew Boosters, Inc. are not-for-profit corporations, and no profit or other benefit is realized from their operation by any person or entity other than the team.
MRA would like to extend a special thanks to the Wilson and Coleman families for their unique, historic contribution in providing a free home to the team during its essential, formative years. MRA is also especially appreciative of the extraordinary vision and generosity of the McCallister, Strong and Delater families, for the special leadership and service provided by the Hames and Chambers families. Due to their efforts, no additional debt was incurred in the construction of the boathouse and improvements of the site. Therefore the only debt associated with the property was the $300,000 borrowed to pay the purchase price, an amount believed to be substantially below the property’s current value. By 2006, through gifts and regular mortgage payments, the debt had been reduced to approximately $270,000. Between 2008, a Power 10 Campaign was successfully spearheaded by Johnathan Rich to raise funds necessary to retire the note.
The residence situated on the property has been renovated by MRA (without the need for any additional borrowing), and bas been rented to tenants. The income derived from its rental is used to reduce MRA’s ongoing expenses. If you would like to be a part of the heritage of the Winter Park Crew Team and contribute to MRA, please contact us. We have an active tax deductible contribution program with recognition of contributors.