The sport of rowing entered the Tampa Area in 1941 when the University of Tampa established an intercollegiate crew (rowing team). However, in 1984 the University planned to discontinue the team. Recognizing that a great void would be created in a community well-disposed to rowing if this were to happen, The Stewards Foundation was formed to foster rowing in the Tampa Bay area. Founders included visionaries who could see the spectrum of possibilities for crew as a community resource; the group included: the late Fred Leary, Finn Casperson, Van McNeel, Fred Bullard, and William A. Krusen, Chairman Emeritus. Tom Feaster was the first Executive Director... In 1991, The Stewards Foundation was granted tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c) (3).
The first project for Mr. Krusen, Mc Nell and Feaster prior to establishing The Stewards Foundation was the McNeel Boathouse at the University of Tampa. The resulting 12,000 square foot facility had accommodations for boats, equipment, dormitory housing for visiting teams, and access to University dining facilities. By 2004, however, the University found it could no longer host the 20, or so, visiting collegiate teams and more than 300 high school student rowers it had hosted during the intervening years because of the University’s expansion from 1,500 students to 5,000 – there was no more room for the program.
Responding to the community need for crew facilities, The Stewards Foundation constructed a temporary boathouse presently located in Julian B. Lane River Front Park. It includes four 20’ by 70’ bays housing 150 racing shells. There is also some limited storage for canoes and kayaks. Located on the Hillsborough River with floating docks provided by The Stewards Foundation, the boathouse is perfectly situated. In cooperation with the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department, The Stewards Foundation provides innovative programming to benefit neighborhood youth.
OUR MISSION AND VALUES
As a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization, The Stewards Foundation mission is to use the sport of crew (rowing) as a vehicle to raise self-esteem and teach teamwork and responsibility to youngsters within the community of Tampa while giving them an opportunity to enhance their future educational opportunities. The sport of rowing is an endeavor with a natural inclination for doing so because in crew it is not the best athletes that win a race but the athletes that row best together. We value Community, Learning, Teamwork and Responsibility.
Thomas E. Feaster, President
Stephen R. White, Treasurer