The following is the text of a news release from the SS United States Conservancy:
(NEW YORK) — It was down to the wire again for America's fabled flagship, the SS United States, but an 11th-hour donation has given the vessel another short reprieve. A $150,000 contribution to the SS United States Conservancy's "We are the United States" campaign on the eve of its conclusion has prompted a decision to extend the national fundraising and outreach effort to save the iconic vessel.
The conservancy, a national nonprofit organization, was just days away from deciding the fate of the world's fastest ocean liner and only ship to bear the nation's name. The donation by cruise industry executive Jim Pollin will extend the grassroots fundraising campaign through mid-September.
The conservancy had set a goal of raising $500,000 to keep the ship afloat back in May. To date, the "We are the United States" campaign has raised nearly $200,000. The organization's board of directors was scheduled to vote this week on whether to recycle or reef the historic ship.
"This donation gives us more time to raise additional resources for the ship's expenses as we continue to negotiate with prospective developers and secure a permanent location for the vessel," stated the conservancy's executive director, Susan Gibbs. "Jim Pollin's passion for the SS United States is inspiring and extraordinary. He is a hero to all those who care about saving our nation's heritage."
The conservancy, which saved the ship from certain destruction in 2011, is actively courting developers and investors to revitalize the vessel as a stationary, mixed-use, landmark destination. The organization is in a race against time to raise the funds to cover the ship's ongoing monthly carrying costs at its current pier in Philadelphia. The conservancy is also committed to the long-term effort of locating, preserving and showcasing thousands of original artifacts, as well as archival documentation, from America's flagship.
"There is no doubt in my mind that if the conservancy can continue to keep the United States afloat that a viable option for her future will be presented," said Pollin. "So much of who we are as a country is represented by this great ship. Americans need to step up now to help save her. The United States is as much a part of our nation as the ground on which we live and work. We cannot allow her to be destroyed. It would be a terrible loss for the nation."
Pollin is the son of the late Abe Pollin who, together with his wife Irene, owned the Washington Capitals and Wizards professional sports teams. The Pollins were also central figures in the revitalization of downtown Washington, D.C., and supported a range of philanthropic causes.
"We hope that this generous donation inspires others to contribute and help us secure a bright future for the SS United States. Sixty-five years ago this month the ship returned to New York after her record-breaking maiden voyage, and she became a national heroine. That America's flagship remains afloat today is a remarkable testament to the ship's resilience and historical importance," said Gibbs.
To contribute to the "We are the United States" campaign, visit www.WearetheUnitedStates.org or the conservancy's GoFundMe page.