2020 Swim Across America Highlights: Tyler Roethke and Grant Wentworth Swim the Vineyard Sound and Raise over $100,000

In 2020, Swim Across America transitioned from open water swims to fun and exciting virtual challenges in each city. We’re highlighting some of the best ‘Making Waves to Fight Cancer’ stories with Swim Across America this year!

On August 8th, 2020, Swim Across America Nantucket participants Tyler Roethke and Grant Wentworth took their personal challenge to a whole new level by swimming a 10K crossing of the Vineyard Sound! These two accomplished this challenging swim in just under 2 hours and together have raised over $100,000 to support Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket – simply AMAZING! Way to go Grant and Tyler! Check out these awesome shots captured by photographer Tom Olcott! If you’d like to support these two outstanding SAA swimmers you can do so by going to swimacrossamerica.org/goto/GrantWentworth & swimacrossamerica.org/goto/TylerRoethke.

Updated Swim Across America Fundraising Messages for 2020

There have been many requests for sample messages to use in your fundraising efforts during the uncertainty of the current pandemic. Here are some messages created by Swim Across America staff and leading participants that you can share via email, text message, social media, the SAA fundraising app and other formats. 

Message #1

Every 15 min, 50 Americans are diagnosed with cancer. Even during a pandemic, people continue to hear the terrible words ‘you have cancer’. I have joined the Swim Across America family so that I can continue to give cancer patients hope by raising funds to support cutting edge cancer research. If you are able, please support me and my swim by making a donation to my personal fundraising page. Every bit helps and will make an impact in the fight to find a cure. 

Message #2

Most of us know someone who is dealing with cancer, and how devastating it can be both for the person who is ill and for the family.  Cancer touches everyone, and unfortunately during these crazy times, cancer isn’t going into quarantine. That is why I’m STILL making waves to fight cancer with Swim Across America. Since we can’t be together right now, would you instead ‘buy me a drink’ or ‘take me out to dinner’ by making a donation to my Swim Across America swim. The money you give will go toward cutting edge cancer research and make an impact in the fight to find a cure. 

Message #3

The past few weeks have definitely been a challenge for us all, which is why I wanted to send you a quick note to see how you were doing and to share with you on something I am looking forward to. This summer, when we are all hopefully able to come together again, I will be swimming 1 mile in open water with Swim Across America to raise funds to support cancer research. When you have a moment, check out my personal fundraising page to learn more about the event and what the funds will support. I’d love to catch up and hear what you are up to as well. Hopefully you have some fun plans to look forward to later this year too. 

Message #4

I hope you are doing ok in this crazy time. I wanted to reach out to thank you again for supporting my participation in Swim Across America. It really made me smile and feel just a little bit closer during all this isolation. Did you know that you might be able to double your donation by getting a matching gift from your employer? Check with your HR department to see what forms need to be completed or search here to see if your company is eligible for matching gifts. Every bit helps, so thank you for checking with your employer for a match! 

Message #5

I’ve been thinking about you and your family during this difficult time and wanted to reach out to see how you were doing. I’ve signed up to participate and fundraise to support cancer research with Swim Across America this year and they’ve been sharing these inspiring stories about dealing with uncertainty right now that I thought you might enjoy.  I hope this brings a little hope to your world right now. I can’t wait until we can get together again soon.

If you have any great messages you think other SAA participants can benefit from using, you can share with us at info@swimacrossamerica.org

2015 Swim Across America event, Day 2 - Nantasket Beach.

 

How Does the CARES Act Affect My 2020 Donation?

CARES Act for Nonprofits – On Friday, March 27, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion economic stimulus package legislated to provide immediate relief for nonprofits. You can help give families affected by cancer hope when you make a donation to Swim Across America.

Details About CARES Act

The inclusion of an expanded charitable giving incentive is a critical acknowledgement by Congress that the work of nonprofits like Swim Across America are essential services. Indeed, cancer isn’t taking a break and our mission continues to be critical as we raise funds and provide grants to our world-class beneficiaries. It is the first time Congress has passed this type of giving incentive in response to disaster or national emergency. 

Here Are The Highlights

IMPORTANT: New Deduction Available: Up to $300 per tax filing in annual charitable contributions. It is an “above the line” adjustment to income that will reduce a donor’s adjusted gross income (AGI), and thereby reduce taxable income. This is particularly beneficial to people who take the standard deduction when filing their taxes (in other words for taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions). A donation to a donor advised fund (DAF) does not qualify for this new deduction. 

New Charitable Deduction Limits: As part of the bill, individuals and corporations that itemize can deduct much greater amounts of their contributions. Individuals can elect to deduct donations up to 100% of their 2020 AGI (up from 60% previously). Corporations may deduct up to 25% of taxable income, up from the previous limit of 10%. The new deduction is for gifts that go to a public charity, such as Swim Across America. The old deduction rules apply to gifts to private foundations. The higher deduction does not apply to donations directly to a DAF. 

If your assets are substantial enough that you can give more than your income this year, you won’t lose the deduction for the excess amount. You can use it next year, as has always been the case.

Required Min. Distributions Waived in 2020 for Most Donors: RMD for individuals over age 70 ½ are suspended until 2021. This includes distributions from defined benefit pension plans and 457 plans. The RMD is an attractive way for donors to make a significant charitable gift directly from their IRA to a charity through a qualified charitable contribution (QCD) while avoiding taxable income. The suspension of the RMD may dampen somewhat the incentive for a donor who makes a gift from their IRA to count toward that minimum. However, the tax benefit of the QCD remains. 

The takeaway – donors directing a QCD to charity this year (up to $100,000 per individual) will still reduce their taxable IRA balance. This allows all taxpayers, itemizers and non-itemizers alike, to direct gifts from their IRA to charities in a tax efficient manner. 

DONATE TO SWIM ACROSS AMERICA TODAY

If you have questions or would like assistance making a donation, you can contact us at info@swimacrossamerica.org

This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results.

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Swim Across America Awards a Record $6 Million in Grants to Fight Cancer for 2020

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In 1987, an inaugural charity swim was hosted across Long Island Sound that raised $5,000 for cancer research. Since then, Swim Across America charity swims have granted nearly $100M that has funded innovative cancer research and clinical trials. Swim Across America grants have played a major role in the development of immunotherapy, detection, gene therapy and personalized medicine. The impact is that families who hear “you have cancer” are more than ever hearing “there is hope.”

In 2020, Swim Across America will be awarding a record $6 million in cancer research grants that will fund more than 50 projects and programs at the following beneficiaries: Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (Connecticut), Baylor Scott & White Sammons Cancer Center (Dallas), Cancer Support Team (Westchester, NY), RUSH University Medical Center (Chicago), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (New York), Columbia University Medical Center (New York), Dana- Farber Cancer Institute (Boston), Feinstein Institute for Medical Research (New York), Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center (Charleston), Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (Baltimore), Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (Tampa), Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute (Charlotte), MassGeneral Hospital for Children (Boston), MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York), Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa), Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Palliative and Support Care of Nantucket, Siteman Cancer Center (St. Louis), Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, UC Benioff Children’s Hospitals (San Francisco and Oakland), Children’s Hospital Colorado (Denver), University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center (Detroit), VCU Massey Cancer Center (Richmond) and Women and Infants Hospital (Rhode Island).

In addition to these grants that are being funded by Swim Across America charity swims within their community, Swim Across America is awarding $120,000 in grants to the Conquer Cancer Foundation (American Society of Clinical Oncology—ASCO) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) that will fund young investigators who have promising ideas to fight cancer.

For more information, please visit swimacrossamerica.org

Swim Across America Partners with United Airlines for “Miles on a Mission” Program

Swim Across America and United Airlines are partnering for United’s “Miles on A Mission” program where United MileagePlus members can give back to charities by donating their airline miles. Check out their promotional video for the program here.

When donating to SAA, your miles will be used to cover travel for special guests attending Swim Across America charity swims. The miles will be used to offset travel costs we would have otherwise paid for, meaning more money can be granted to beneficiary hospitals.

The campaign will run until November 22 or until we reach our goal set at 250,000 miles. Help us reach our goal and take our impact further. Please share with friends and family for the biggest impact.

Ready to donate miles? Click here: bit.ly/SAAMilesonaMission

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Michael Phelps Returns to Pool To Support Ms. Cathy and Swim Across America

Swim Across America partnered with the Michael Phelps Foundation for an inspiring charity swim honoring Michael’s learn-to-swim coach and cancer survivor, Cathy Bennett. The event in Mesa, Arizona raised over $55,000 that will fund a cancer research project at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore.

Bennett, whom Phelps affectionately refers to as Ms. Cathy, is the Program Director of the Michael Phelps Foundation where she oversees the Foundation’s signature program – IM – which provides learn-to-swim, recreational aquatic activities, organized swim instruction, as well as health, wellness, and goal-setting programming.

Phelps, the most decorated swimmer in World Championships history and 28-time Olympic medalist, retired from competitive swimming in 2016.

Notable attendees included Dr. Bill Nelson, chief of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, three-time Olympian Allison Schmitt (2008, 2012, 2016), 2016 Olympic head coach and Arizona State University head coach Bob Bowman, and members of the ASU swim team.

PHOTOS FROM THE SWIM ACROSS AMERICA / MICHAEL PHELPS FOUNDATION POOL SWIM

 

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MEDIA COVERAGE

USA TODAY

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NBC-12 

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA FAMILY TREE (OCTOBER 2019)

SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.

 

Swim Across America

Learn how to Swim to Save a Life. This Charity Raised Nearly $100 million to Directly Fund Therapies to Defeat Cancer. A Conversation with Swim Across America’s Rob Butcher and Board Chair Pam Ryan from Goldman Sachs

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SAA – Richmond

  • SAA-Richmond Event Director Jay Peluso and Dr. Santiago Lima of VCU Massey Cancer Center promoted the swim on WTVR

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SAA – Atlanta

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SAA – Denver

  • Swim Across America CEO Rob Butcher and Team Captain Patty Waldron appeared on FOX 46

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SAA – San Francisco Bay

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SAA – Baltimore

  • With yearly swim, Mt. Hebron High junior raises money for cancer research at Magothy River event (Baltimore Sun)

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  • Dr. Jonathan Webster of Johns Hopkins and Patient Ambassador Vanessa Brandon promoted Swim Across America on Midday Maryland

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SAA – Dallas

  • North Texas Swimmers Raise Money for Local Cancer Research (NBC DFW)Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 10.23.08 AM

 

  • Lake Ray Hubbard swim event helps raise money for cancer research (FOX 4 DFW)

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SAA – St. Louis

  • Swim Across America CEO Rob Butcher and champion swimmer Mallory Comerford promoted the upcoming swim on FOX 2!

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SAA – Catalina Relay Team

  • The six relay swimmers representing SAA crushed their 54-mile relay swim this September! It only took them 28 hours and they are now the 11th team EVER to complete this swim around Catalina Island! Not to mention they have raised over $60,000!

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SAA – Rhode Island

  • A Special Message on behalf of SAA -Rhode Island from Olympian Elizabeth Beisel and Providence College Coach John O’Neill

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Behind the Scenes: Swim Across America Times Square PSA with Clear Channel Outdoor

image1-6Background: Clear Channel Outdoor teamed up with Swim Across America for a #MakingWavesToFightCancer public service campaign that placed SAA digital messaging in eight markets including Times Square in New York City. The digital PSA promotes SAA charity swims in each market. Thanks to the Clear Channel Outdoor team for supporting the Swim Across America mission on the largest scale! You can read about more about the partnership here.

Times Square Details: The 15-second ad cycles for 5 minutes every hour from July 15th – August 4th, 2019.

The two screens stand 100 feet tall combined  –  55′ H x 31′ W and 44′ H x 44′ W to precise on the dimensions. The location is adjacent to Duffy Square and the TKTS on Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets.

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Creative Team: Swim Across America Director of Marketing Ryan Baucom led the team project with the creative talents of brand designer Miriam Weiskind (mdoubleu) and Swim Across America Digital Media Intern Hannah Aspden.

FULL VIDEO

SAA FAMILY TREE (JULY 2019)

SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.

 

SAA – Baltimore

SAA – Denver

SAA – Boston

SAA – Nantucket

  • Celebrate Our Impact event at Nantucket Cottage Hospital

    SAA – Fairfield County

    • Greenwich shows support for Swim Across America Fairfield County (Greenwich Time)

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Swim Across America Wins Healthiest Employer Award in Charlotte

Swim Across America was recognized at the 2019 Charlotte Business Journal Healthiest Employers Awards and made the podium the small business category. The program honors local companies with outstanding health and wellness initiatives that are committed to creating a healthy workplace and making wellness a priority and proactively shaping the health of their employees.

The national team also set up a recruiting booth at the Expo for SAA – Charlotte at the Expo.