Cummings Makes $25,000 Gift and Challenges Community to Support Real World Readiness Program

Long-time Northwest Maritime Center donor and volunteer Sigrid Cummings has made a $25,000 gift to support the organization’s expanded Real World Readiness program, and invites the community to match her giving throughout the Give Jefferson campaign, which runs from November 15 through December 31, 2023. Northwest Maritime Center is participating in the county-wide campaign, and donations can be made via this link.

The Real World Readiness program started in 2018 to create the opportunity for young people to gain both the durable skills of leadership, confidence, responsibility, and teamwork, and the hard skills to potentially move into a maritime career. The program is open to youth ages 16-24 local to our area who are in challenging situations, be that previous incarceration, issues with school attendance and engagement, or homelessness. 

The program addresses both the “silver tsunami” of retiring professionals in the maritime industry and the need to find a skilled and diverse workforce, and the unique challenges that Olympic Peninsula youth face through alternative pathways into sustainable careers. Partnerships with Big Picture Learning and B-Unbound will help the program to support students in identifying maritime interests and pathways to connect them to maritime professionals throughout the region. More information about the program is available here.

Cummings’s gift is part of a multi-year pledge totaling $125,000 over five years. Her decision to designate the first year of her gift to Real World Readiness goes back to her experience working with families in poverty. “Fifty years ago, I was working as an intern to complete my bachelor’s degree in social work at California State University Chico. My emphasis was child abuse and neglect, and helping low-income mothers who had come to the attention of the county welfare department. I was woefully unprepared for this assignment and felt powerless to have a positive impact in their lives. Today, I am privileged to partner with the Northwest Maritime Center to improve the prospects for young people in our community who face both geographic and socioeconomic obstacles.”

The gift also has a special significance and poignancy for both Cummings and the Northwest Maritime Center: the funds are from insurance settlements Cummings received following the death of her husband (and former Northwest Maritime Center executive director) Stan Cummings, who died in a bicycle accident July 2021. “This is the best way I know to make sense of a devastating personal loss. Stan was a staunch believer in the power of experiential education, and he would have been proud to see how much the Northwest Maritime Center’s youth programs have grown since he retired in 2010,” Cummings said of her gift.

“The Northwest Maritime Center is grateful to Sigrid for inviting and challenging our community to join her—and us—to change lives and break harmful cycles of socio-economic inequality and hardship in our community by providing an alternative pathway for young people to prepare to enter the workforce,” CEO Jake Beattie added. 

Individuals wishing to join Cummings in supporting Real World Readiness during Give Jefferson are invited to do so online at