Megayacht News Radio Podcast with Dudley Savage of AMIkids Yacht Donation Program
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(voiceover), Diane Byrne, Dudley Savage
Welcome to Megayacht News Radio, the first and longest running podcast series dedicated to the large yacht industry, hosted by Diane Byrne, the editor of megayachtnews.com. We feature conversations with engaging and inspiring people in yachting, from shipyard CEOs to designers, from yacht managers to young entrepreneurs. And yes, even owners. You’ll learn how they got into yachting, how they’re building better businesses, and especially how they’re helping people like you get more enjoyment out of the yachting lifestyle.
Diane Byrne 00:49
Welcome, everyone to Megayacht News Radio. I’m pleased to be speaking with Dudley savage from AMIkids today. AMIkids is a 50 year old nonprofit organization based in Florida that helps at risk youth create a better, brighter tomorrow for themselves. And as we’re about to discuss, it has strong ties to yacht owners and the yachting industry. In fact, whether you own a yacht yourself or you represent someone who does, you can help further the cause. So, Dudley, welcome to Megayacht News Radio.
Dudley Savage 01:24
Well, good morning, Diane. It’s nice to be with you this morning. Yeah. Thank you for this opportunity to introduce AMIkids.
Diane Byrne 01:33
Yeah, absolutely. I love the program. I love what you guys are doing. So happy to have you on. So tell us a little bit about what AMIkids does. How does it help these at risk youth and their families?
Dudley Savage 01:47
Well, AMI started in the late 60s when judge Frank Orlando was a circuit court judge in Deerfield Beach. And he was playing golf with his friend Lou de la Parte, who was a state senator at the time. And he was over lunch, they were saying, you know, I keep having these kids come through my courtroom. And they’re from very affluent neighborhoods, that they just on the weekends, they just have too much time on their hands, and they’re getting in trouble. So Lou de la Parte said, you know, we have a friend who’s doing a roof project, let’s get the kids involved in the roof projects on the weekends and see what happens. Well, needless to say, Judge Frank Orlando did not see any more kids coming through his courtroom. So that planted the seed. And Lou was able to get some funding through the state of Florida in Tallahassee. And we started our first school in 1969, in a shopping center. So today, we have 44 different schools and eight different states. And we have served over 150,000 kids. And yeah, with 1000 employees that work throughout the different programs and, and what’s really amazing and so impactful that the somewhere between 70 and 80%, across the board, for those that complete our curriculum, do not reoffend within the first year. So it’s been an amazing impact on the local communities where we are. And our whole mission and focus is to help transform the lives of troubled boys and girls.
Diane Byrne 03:34
Wow, that is amazing. I didn’t even realize it was that many states at this point and that many kids? That’s tremendous. Yeah, it absolutely is. Wow, congratulations. So how did you become involved in the program, and when?
Dudley Savage 03:50
I started with AMI when they were opening up the third school in Jacksonville in the very early 70s, and I went tothe board as the seamanship instructor, and I would also run trips over to the Bahamas. So I’ve been involved with all four presidents of AMI through the last 50 years. And I did leave AMI after three or four years and went into the brokerage business industry myself, I had my own firm but then about 12 years ago, when a fellow that I worked with so closely retired, I thought what a perfect fit. I’ve been supporting AMI for 50 years, why not be part of the team so here I am as a facilitator, working with yacht brokerage around yacht brokers around the country and offering a great alternative for their clients.
Diane Byrne 04:45
Terrific. So let’s talk about the the yacht donation program, because that was a perfect setup for it. I know it’s got a great history and nice long history; thousands of boats and megayachts have been provided to AMIkids through it. So what does it entail? Walk us through it.
Dudley Savage 05:05
Yeah, you know, for the majority of the years that we’ve been doing this, which is now close to 50, with our with our program, the boat donation program, the the the whole center was the tax deduction. But with the COVID that we’re dealing with right now and the and just the unrest in the world, convenience has been come a major factor in the decision for many, many owners and donors, considering AMI, so it’s just it’s it’s not so much the tax deduction, though, that is very much a part of it, because the boat gets appraised by a third party source, not connected with AMIkids in any way. And they put a value on the boat, which becomes the basis of the contribution. And then depending on their tax bracket, working through their tax advisor will determine what that appraisal means to them as far as the tax deduction. As far as AMIkids, we make a commitment to own the boat for three years and put it into our leasing program. And where that is important is we we will commit to material and proving the boat which is part of the IRS guidelines and issue a 1098 c form after we complete our upgrades, but then we offer a true operating lease, which cannot be construed as an agreement for sale. So there’s a lot of transparency and every transaction we do. There’s a lot of integrity involved. And that’s the reason I’m very proud to sit here and share with you today that we’ve done over 6,000 transactions since our boat program started. And to our knowledge, we’ve never had a donor have their donation devalued or disallowed by the IRS.
Diane Byrne 07:06
Very good, very good. Let’s talk a little bit more about that, too, because I like the fact that you handle a lot of these duties for the owners. But there’s–there has to be something more, I would think, for some of these owners, a tax deduction is kind of a if you look at it, from a certain standpoint, it can be very cold concept, you know, here we go just take the boat, I get a tax deduction. Great, that’s wonderful. I would imagine it’s more of that in terms of the convenience also for these donors, they’re doing it because there’s the obviously the convenience of a lot of the details being taken care of, but there’s the convenience of knowing the boats going to be taken care of properly. So talk a little bit about what you all do in terms of making sure that boat is in good shape for those three years.
Dudley Savage 07:53
Well, what happens is, you know, it’s not so much there are several charities that receive your donations. Okay, that’s a, that’s a fact. And, but it’s not so much who receives the boat in contribution. It’s how the transaction is handled over the next three years, which will really determine the integrity of the contribution. So with AMIkids, as mentioned, we do the material improvements, and then we offer the boat on a lease. And going back to your question as far as being a cold transaction for for many years. Donors would sign the deeds of gift and we wouldn’t have any more communication with them until a future date, they might consider donating another boat to us. But so often when once people now we’re giving virtual tours, because we can’t do live tours, with donors or lessees. And once people understand what we do, and the nature of our whole mission and focus, we’re not just a donation organization, our donations, every dollar every dollar is generated from our lease program goes directly to our schools. So we’re all salaried employees here at AMI. And so that’s when you look at the value that the individual is getting being philanthropic and, and the fact that he can take care of and have a safe alternative, it really becomes a win win. And when they actually see the great works that we do, quite often many people will get involved and support us and our schools, the needs and and the proceeds coming from each donation to help us fund all our activities because we’re we’re we’re relying on state and federal funding to operate our schools. And with that, you have to have so many classroom hours otherwise, they’re we’re not going to get funding to bring kids out on boats to go on dive trips. So the money’s coming in through the Yacht Donation Program, help fund the different activities that we do throughout the year. It’s just it ends up being a real win win for everybody.
Diane Byrne 10:07
Right? You just mentioned the dive trips. I think for people who aren’t really as familiar with your organization, can you explain a little bit how that works into the whole leasing program? Are you for example leasing out to specialists? Who can take the kids out diving? Or are you doing kind of your own classroom, your floating classroom really, with some of these trips, in addition to leasing out the boats to others.
Dudley Savage 10:34
So what happens is, is that most of the larger megayachts, we would put into our lease program like our 120 Benetti, and I’ll talk about that in a minute. But there are several boats that we use because we aren’t we have our own boat yard. And besides all the schools and the home office, being in Tampa, we have our own boat yard in St. Petersburg. And a gentleman Bill and Carol Barrows, three years ago spent several million dollars building this landing craft to be used at one of the universities over on the east coast. And as it turns out, their aquatics program was closed. So they bill and Carol donated that. And then we’ve used that boat every year now to go down to John Pennekamp State Park and the Florida Keys in June or July. Unfortunately, we’re unable to this past year because of the COVID. But we’ll have kids coming from all our schools, from all the different states and they’ll converge down into the Florida Keys where they’ll spend five days going out to the coral reefs and doing studies and ocean sciences and and it’s amazing because you have some some young lads from our school in Cuba, New Mexico who have never seen salt water, and suddenly they have masks fins and snorkels on there looking at tropical fish and sharks for the first time in their life. And you know it you never know. person, that young man or young lady who’s been so troubled in her past, to finally get it and to recognize people really do care. And I do have a potential. So it could be a snorkeling trip, it could be a white rod or rafting trip up in the Carolinas that we they, we never know what it is. But that and the curriculum that we offer, we give them hope and purpose. So it’s been it’s really worked well.
Diane Byrne 12:41
It’s fantastic. Fantastic. And I know you’ve developed some really special relationships, as you said before, with a handful of these owners over the years, is there an owner too, maybe that you could highlight and just explain a little bit about how, how you’ve formed a nice tight bond.
Dudley Savage 12:59
Fellow gentleman by the name of Albert Phelps, who is in southern Connecticut and has a huge development company, Albert donated a Whitby 42, and 1976 to the Jacksonville school where I was, and since then, over the years, we’ve stayed in touch with them. And four years ago Brooklin Boat Works up in Maine builds a custom boat, and he donated a 70 foot custom Brooklin called Sunny. And amazingly, we’ve after four years, he was really troubled being without a boat, he was 97 when he gave us Sunny too, and he decided to have a 90 foot boat built. And so recently because of his failing health, we just received that in donation as well. So we have now 73, which is a 90 foot custom Brooklin built in 2018, but it is about relationships. And the gentleman who is the creator of Crocs shoes has given us five different boats; several high profile entertainers have given us multiple boats. But it also comes down to convenience. We recently received a 120 Benetti and I was working with Neil LeMond at superyachts. And the gentleman was undecided whether his boat was in Europe, whether he was going to bring it back to Fort Lauderdale for a major refit or get into another boat and Neil planted the seed about this is being a great alternative as far as am my kids so so the gentlemen kept this in the back of his mind and as they decided to bring the boat back and then they were looking for The replacement boat. And what happened was he, he went ahead and purchase his next vessel and brought it to Lauderdale Marine Center. So the convenience here comes into play because they were able to the crew was that was on. Well, owners personal equipment, put it a new boat. And then once that was all completed, we completed the transaction of donation. So we didn’t for the owner, they didn’t have to be concerned with transferring crew and how do I having two mega yachts and in Florida and paying the holding costs, it became just a great alternative to do this. So yeah, and, and we just received a 90 foot Moonen from a gentleman who is in the process of having a 120 built and he didn’t want to happen once he had made up his mind to move on to a 120. It didn’t make sense for him to have the holding cost of the 90, whereas contribution became a very viable alternative. And it was very convenient for him just to complete the transaction.
Diane Byrne 16:15
Terrific. Great. So obviously, we would like to encourage listeners to donate to the cause, too. So if someone wants to provide you with their yacht, what should they do?
Dudley Savage 16:28
You can call, call our office, and we’ll shoot I’m sure that you have access to our telephone number, you can go on our website, but what will happen is, quite often, the broker needs to find out if contribution could be a viable alternative for their client. And if the owner is at all open to this concept, what we can do is we’ll send a letter of introduction to AMIkids giving a little background about our mission and focus and, and then go into the details as to how the contribution process works. And the introduction letters designed to for the broker to turn over to the owner and then hopefully sit with the tax council to see if contribution might make sense. So they the whole process can take less than three weeks and eat of contribution because it’s, you know, the very unusual right now and the environment is certainly challenged. So when planning the seed of contribution, for a later date, it’s something you can easily go back to at a future date when you’ve been unsuccessful to be able to sell the boat. So I would encourage everybody listening to if, if they think they’re owners in a position to utilize a tax deduction, plant that seed early on. And then we can do an introduction at any given time. But we’ve taken boats from all over the world. And we’re here to serve you and put as successful as we are with transforming lives. We’re that successful with protecting each and every donor that comes through AMI.
Diane Byrne 18:23
Terrific, terrific. Dudley, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been really good learning about what you and the team do at AMIkids and shedding some light on it for those individuals who are not so familiar with it.
Dudley Savage 18:39
Well, Diane, thank you very much and AMIkids is absolutely the real real deal. And it would be great to have the opportunity to work with anybody listening. And we work through mainly through the brokerage community. So it’s it’s inspiring for the broker for to be involved as well because we cover the costs of the commissions with the brokerage community. So it’s just an expense the owner doesn’t have to bear. So thank you there. We really appreciate the opportunity. We have a whole team here at the boatyard that would love to work with each and every one of you.
Diane Byrne 19:18
Absolutely. Well on that note, everyone, if you’d like to learn more about AMIkids and how you can contribute to the donation program, you can visit their website, which is amikids.org. Until next time, I’m Diane Byrne.
That wraps up this episode of Megayacht News Radio. Thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, please share the Word on social media and subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Audible, iHeartRadio, or Spotify. And of course to learn more about what’s going on in the world of large yacht cruising, new construction, and design, check out our daily updated website, the award winning megayachtnews.com.