After a successful 30-year run as the primary organizer of the annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix in Southwest Florida, Suncoast Charities For Children is departing that role. An American Power Boat Association member-organization, Powerboat P1 will continue its sanctioning role for the race as an APBA group member. The United Kingdom-based outfit, which has a United States office in Orlando, with promote and produce the race in collaboration with Visit Sarasota County.
Today’s announcement marks the official end of Suncoast Charities For Children’s involvement with the Grand Prix, which for years has been the finale of the weeklong Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival.
The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix will return in 2021 with Powerboat P1 and Visit Sarasota County in organizational, production and promotional roles. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“We were honored to start and establish this race, which in 2019 generated an estimated economic impact of $29.6 Million and 16,800 room nights, and appreciate all the support received from Sarasota County, Visit Sarasota County, and the City of Sarasota,” said Lucy Nicandri, the executive director of the charity and now-former primary venue organizer for the race.
“As the race promoter since 2015, Powerboat P1 has worked closely with Lucy in her role as the executive director for the Charities and we now look forward to a new partnership with Visit Sarasota,” said Azam Rangoonwala, chief executive officer of Powerboat P1. “Lucy has been at the heart of the Grand Prix for more than 30 years and has made an outstanding contribution to building the race event into one of the highlights of the offshore season.
‘On a personal level Lucy is a joy to work with,” he added. “I have had a chance to see in person as well as participate within some of the work that is done by Lucy and Suncoast Charities for Children and it is truly incredible.”
The Suncoast Charities For Children board of directors approved the decision to step away involvement with the race as “part of a restructuring strategy, necessitated by the onset of COVID-19, to align with their fundraising mission of providing support to children, teens, and adults with special needs,” according to a press release today from the nonprofit organization. The strategy includes focusing on special event fundraisers county-wide that offer “a lower overhead to produce in order to increase the amount of money granted and decrease demand on staff/volunteer resources, which are thinner due to the pandemic.”
The charity will, however, continue to organize all the traditional Festival events around the race. Suncoast Charities for Children also will support the transition, as the event organizer Powerboat P1 assumes a more traditional role in staging the race with the continued support of Visit Sarasota County’s Sports Commission, the release stated. During the years, net proceeds from the Grand Prix Festival have enabled the Suncoast Foundation to construct facilities valued at $20 million for several community service agencies that occupy those buildings for one dollar per year.
Suncoast Charities for Children executive director Lucy Nicandri guided the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix to success for years.
“Visit Sarasota County is excited to see Suncoast Charities for Children maximize their fundraising opportunities by transitioning the Powerboat Grand Prix Race to Powerboat P1,” said Virginia Haley, the president of Visit Sarasota County. “We’ve had a great relationship with both organizations for many years and believe the Festival and boat race are set up for continued success.”