BENEFITING: SS UNITED STATES CONSERVANCY
As owners and stewards of America's flagship ocean liner, the SS United States will raise a $1 million Historic Preservation Fund as the first step of its national fundraising campaign.
Millions of Americans have ties to the great ship --- they traveled on her, worked on her, or know someone who did. A masterpiece of American technology and style, this powerful symbol of post-war pride must be saved for future generations.
On February 1, 2011, the SS United States Conservancy took ownership of the ship, thanks to a generous $5.8 million grant from philanthropist and retired naval officer H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest. Without this dramatic intervention, this national treasure would have been sold for scrap. It is now up to the Conservancy to raise the funds to preserve the ship before the Lenfest grant runs out in August 2012.
The $1 million Historic Preservation Fund is the Conservancy's first fundraising milestone, one that will help secure the historical legacy of the ship before physical restoration can commence. The funds are needed to produce plans for a world-class museum onboard the ship. A comprehensive historic preservation plan will offer the Conservancy guidance in protecting the ship's exterior for posterity and the restoration of parts of her interiors. These funds will also be used to begin acquisition of artifacts, furnishings, and other museum-related materials. We will also use these funds to finance the online construction of a "virtual" ship. This interactive "micro-investing" project, called the "Paint the Ship" campaign, will allow people to "purchase" sections of the ship by the square inch and attach their personal stories and photos to an online 3D model, which will be gradually "painted" as more square inches are purchased. Our end goal is to produce an end-product similar to Ellis Island's "Wall of Honor," in which ordinary citizens can contribute to the preservation of an American monument in a very personal way.
We will then begin the next campaign: the physical restoration of the ship's exterior.
Why we cannot fail: if sufficient funds from for-profit developers and private donors cannot be raised for her restoration by August 2012, the Conservancy will be faced with the ironic task of selling this piece of American history for scrap.
The Conservancy will not let that tragic fate befall our great "Ship of State."