The Seaman’s Church Institute’s annual fundraiser on the USS Potomac

On Thursday, September 25, approximately 70 people gathered on the USS Potomac, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Floating White House” for an evening of socializing and fundraising for the Seamen’s Church Institute. President Roosevelt was a member of the Seamen’s Church Institute board throughout his presidency, one of the few charity board affiliations he maintained after his election.

Docents were available to answer questions and give guided. Their knowledge was not only limited to the history of the yacht during Roosevelt’s time, but also general maritime information and the workings of San Francisco. The program for the evening included a welcome by the Rev. David M. Rider, president and executive director of the Seamen’s Church Institute, a brief thanks for the work of SCI from a representative of the San Francisco bar pilots, and an invocation by an SCI chaplain.

Through the evening, while enjoying dinner and drinks, guests were encouraged to buy raffle tickets to support the work of the Seamen’s Church Institute. An arm’s length of tickets cost $20, and prizes ranged from lodging on a beach in Mexico to a night out in Emeryville to a flat-screen television. All of the proceeds from the raffle went to support the work of SCI.

As the evening progressed from tours to the raffle drawings, strangers met one another and conversed about their relationship with the Seamen’s Church Institute. Not everyone present was Episcopalian or even religious, but everyone there valued the work of SCI in providing spiritual care for mariners. A general sense of gratitude for the work — and happiness to support SCI’s mission — filled the decks of the Potomac.

The Seamen’s Church Institute cares for the personal, professional, and spiritual needs of mariners around the world. Founded in 1834, it is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ service agency in North America. You can donate to support the work of the Seamen’s Church Institute here.

For further information contact Adrienne Yee, director of the International Maritime Center at, 510.839.2226, ext. 107.