We are dedicated to inspire people to become caring stewards of the Great Lakes. Your financial support makes educational opportunities possible, ensuring a healthy future for our most important natural resource. Your donation:

  • Makes Schoolship programs affordable for school classrooms
  • Increases professional investment in program development for greater future impact
  • Maintains the Capt. Thomas M. Kelly Biological Station, SV Inland Seas and schooner Utopia

Donation by check or phone is always welcome. Make checks payable to ISEA and mail to 100 Dame St #218, Suttons Bay, MI 49682, or call (231) 271-3077.


Members provide sustaining gifts that cover operating expenses year-round and make our programs available to every student, regardless of need. Just make a donation of $100 or more at any time during a 12-month period to become a member.

With an annual gift of $1,000 or more you become a Captain’s Circle member. This dedicated group of supporters is critical to the ongoing mission of Inland Seas.

Qualified Charitable IRA Distributions

When you reach age 72, you are required to withdraw a certain amount of money from your retirement accounts each year. That amount is called a required minimum distribution, or RMD.

A payment directly from your IRA to Inland Seas may be considered a qualified charitable distribution which can satisfy your RMD. Contact your financial planner to learn about RMD.

Planned Giving

When you designate a gift in your will or estate plan, you ensure the work of Inland Seas will remain sustainable for many years to come.

Speak with your financial advisor or estate lawyer to make a planned gift to ISEA, including bequests, beneficiary designations, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, or endowed gifts.

Please let us know if you have already or plan to include ISEA in your estate plan.

Other Donation Options

Boat Donations

You can support Inland Seas by donating your boat (e.g., sail, power, kayak, paddleboard, etc.) and boat-related gear (e.g., life jackets, line, paddles, anchors, electronics, etc.). Donated items are sold to the public who are often first-time boaters and eager to begin a journey on the water. This ongoing fundraiser makes it affordable for them to get on the Great Lakes, supports ISEA and our mission, and may be a tax deduction for the donor.

All monies raised from boat sales will be used to support the operation of ISEA. Donated gear will be used to fit out donated boats or offered for sale at the annual ISEA Flea Market.

Contact us at or (231) 271-3077 for more information on donating your boat.

Donated boats are listed for sale on Craigslist.

PayPal Giving Fund

If you donate through the PayPal Giving Fund site, PayPal covers all processing fees so 100% of your donation goes to Inland Seas!

Property other than Cash

What if the amount you wish to give exceeds the amount you feel you can give from your cash resources? Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and other resources can make excellent gifts to ISEA. A gift of such an asset may allow you to give with little or no effect on your current spendable income, and you may enjoy various tax incentives. Please contact us at (231) 271-3077 or if you would like to donate to ISEA through one of the following methods.

Closely Held Stock: Publicly traded securities, shares of stock in closely held companies, bonds, and government issues may be given to Inland Seas Education Association. Call the office for stock transfer and delivery directions.

Savings Bonds: Turn your savings bonds into a generous ISEA gift while reducing the tax liability generated by these investments.

Real Estate: Inland Seas Education Association may accept gifts of real estate, including homes, condominiums, commercial properties, farmland, rental properties, and undeveloped land after a thorough review of several factors, including an environmental assessment.

Gifts of Life Insurance: When you own a life insurance policy with accumulated cash value, you’re essentially sitting on a pile of money. When the original purpose for the protection no longer applies—such as to educate children now grown or to provide financial security for a spouse now deceased—your life insurance can be redirected to help support Inland Seas Education Association. You can name ISEA as the beneficiary and also assign us ownership of the policy as a current charitable gift. Another option is to name ISEA as the primary beneficiary, making this a legacy gift (naming ISEA as beneficiary while you retain ownership of the policy does not qualify you for an income tax deduction).

Qualified Charitable Deductions: Qualified Charitable Deductions (QCDs) are available to owners of traditional IRAs and who are of age 70½ or older. A QCD is a distribution from your traditional IRA that can go directly to a qualified non-profit such as ISEA, and is NOT included in your taxable income thus does not increase your adjusted gross income (AGI). Click here for more information.

Donor Advised Fund: If you have a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) with Fidelity Charitable, Schwab Charitable, or BNY MELLON Charitable Gift Fund, you can donate directly using this tool. You will be directed to log into your DAF account after clicking next.

Support ISEA with Your Purchases

1. Show your love of the Great Lake and ISEA by purchasing items through our online store.

2. Amazon Smile: Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases every time you shop with Amazon Smile.

3. Great Lakes Tea and Spice of Glen Arbor, MI will donate $1 for every 3.0 oz. tin or $.50 for every 1.4 oz. pouch of Mackinaw Breeze or Sweetwater Vanilla tea to Inland Seas.

4. Eat dessert first! FireFly of Traverse City will donate $1 for every dessert sold to Inland Seas.

Inland Seas Education Association does not provide legal or tax advisory services. Please contact an attorney or financial advisor before making charitable gifts regarding wills, trusts, and bequests.

Schooner Society

Donors who have a lifetime of giving of $25,000 or more, belong to the Schooner Society, receive a half-model of the Schooner Inland Seas, and have their name displayed in the Education Center on the lifetime giving wall.

Schooner Society Members

Individuals and Families


Lois Bahle and Larry Mawby

The Beers Family

Gordon and Susan Brown

Lawrence and Susan Burks Family

Charles and Susan Cady

Edward and Barbara Collins

Michael and Barbara Dennos

Robert and Nancy Doughty

Michael and Rhea Dow

Gary and Sandy Drew

Darcy and David Dye

Timothy Feist

Mason and Mary Kaye Ferry

Larry and Martha Garber

Mr and Mrs Robert Hagerman

Jack and Bessie Hamm

Robert Howard

Brian and Jennifer Jaffe

Marty and Olivia Lagina

Harold and Pam Lassers

Leslie Lee

Jim and Gwen Rich

Richard and Norma Sarns

David and Carole Shelby

Robert Soltow

Sally Somsel

Anne Thomas

Corporations and Foundations


American Steamship Company

The Edmund F and Virginia B Ball Foundation

The Les and Anne Biederman Foundation

Charlevoix County Community Foundation

The Alden and Vada Dow Family Foundation

The Dow Chemical Company, MI Division

The Dow Chemical Company Foundation

The Herbert H and Grace A Dow Foundation

DTE Energy Foundation

Earl-Beth Foundation

Ford Motor Company Fund

Rollin M Gerstacker Foundation

Global Marine Insurance

Harleysville Lake States Company

Herman Miller Cares

Herrington-Fitch Family Foundation

W K Kellogg Foundation

Mariel Foundation

National City Bank

NewPage – Escanaba Operations

Northwestern Bank

Oleson Foundation

Paine Family Foundation

The Herbert and Elsa Ponting Foundation

Rotary Charities of Traverse City

The Seabury Foundation

Seeco Contracting Corporation

Suttons Bay Leelanau Rotary Club

Sign-up for news, events and other ISEA information