Virgin Gorda & Bitter End Yacht Club Staff Irma Relief Fund

For: Bitter End Yacht Club Employees & the Virgin Gorda Community
Darien, CT
Organizer: Bitter End Yacht Club Resort Team
Virgin Gorda & Bitter End Yacht Club Staff Irma Relief Fund (Bitter End Yacht Club Employees & the Virgin Gorda Community)
$361,970
of $500,000 goal.
Raised by 1748 donors
72% Complete

The Story

On September 6, 2017 Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean causing mass destruction throughout the region. In response to the overwhelming outreach we have received from our guests who want to help, we set up a fund to support the employees of Bitter End who have been impacted by the storm and the Virgin Gorda community rebuild their lives. BEYC and the community of Virgin Gorda have been devastated by the storm. Bitter End was founded as a family resort and yacht club in 1973 and is one of the largest employers on Virgin Gorda with over 175 employees. Over the last forty years, the spirited team that works at Bitter End has become an extended family for many all over the world. We are all heartbroken that our employees, their families and the entire Virgin Gorda community have lost so much in Hurricane Irma. We need your support to help them rebuild their lives and the Virgin Gorda community. Please make a donation today. Every dollar donated will go towards BEYC Caribbean employees who were impacted by Hurricane Irma and the community of Virgin Gorda. 

We salute the generosity of an anonymous BEYC Repeater Guest who has pledged to match "dollar for dollar" all new or additional donations up to $100,000! The heartfelt note below is from a family that visits BEYC annually. It reminds us that the BEYC and BVI/Virgin Gorda experience transcends the typical family vacation, and that there is a real connection between BEYC visitors, and the people of Virgin Gorda. And it’s because of people & families like this that the Virgin Gorda community will come back stronger than ever. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to this family for their overwhelming generosity and to so many of our friends who have generously donated and donated again. In the words of our anonymous donor...please read on:

"The Bitter End is like no place on earth! The North Sound is the perfect place to sail, kite, SUP, dive, and hang out with family and friends, with its great winds, clear blue water, and surrounding peaks. We discovered The Bitter End on our honeymoon in 1993, the two of us sailing an old Pearson 30 around the islands. We have returned 15 times over the years, and our four kids grew up exploring all that the land and sea has to offer. It is like a second home to them. But more important than the beauty of the islands is the unbelievable team of people who really make The Bitter End so special. They are caring, enthusiastic, fun and energetic. Each year on our return, we are greeted by ‘old friends’ welcoming us back just like we are family. These people who have done so much for us have lost everything, and now it is our turn to help them. It is this extended family at The Bitter End that we are supporting with our matching gift of $100,000, and we hope that this helps others dig deep to increase their gift, or make a first-time gift. Please join us in helping the tremendous family and team at The Bitter End.” ~A BEYC “Repeater Guest” who chooses to remain anonymous. 

*Donations to this relief effort in Youcaring.com are not tax deductible as we do not have a 501c3 status. 100% of the funds collected will go directly to the Virgin Gorda Community and the local employees of Bitter End who have been impacted by the storm. *Please make checks payable to Gorda Estates Ltd. 

**For those partners and friends of Bitter End who would like to support our efforts on a larger scale, be it individually or through corporate contributions, we have established a donor advised fund, known as the Bitter End Irma Relief Fund in partnership with The Resource Foundation to coordinate disaster relief efforts in Virgin Gorda. BEYC’s leadership will work with The Resource Foundation and locally-based partners on mid-and long-term response and recovery initiatives that will empower the communities and help them rebuild their lives. The Resource Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions to this fund are tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers. To learn more about our partnership with The Resource Foundation, please visit our donor advised fund on their website at http://resourcefnd.org/funds/bitter-end-irma-relief-fund/.  For more information on making a donation or the work we are doing in the region, please contact Kerri Quinn Jaffe, our Chief Marketing Officer at 203-656-5008 or [email protected].   

SPANISH TRANSLATION: El pasado 6 de septiembre de 2017 el huracán Irma atravesó la zona del Caribe causando un daño devastador en toda la región.  La respuesta abrumadora que hemos recibido por parte de nuestros huéspedes ha motivado a la creación de un fondo especial para ayudar a los empleados de Bitter End que con el paso del huracán no sólo han perdido sus pertenencias, han perdido también su hogar y su comunidad. El dinero recaudado aportará significativamente a la recuperación de la calidad de vida de nuestros empleados y al desarrollo y reconstrucción de Virgen Gorda.   Fundado en 1973, el Bitter End Yacht Club(BEYC) es un resort familiar con marina en donde trabajan 175 personas,convirtiéndolo en el empleador más grande en Virgen Gorda. Durante los últimos 40 años, el equipo que trabaja enérgicamente en Bitter End se ha convertido en la familia extendida de muchos de los que nos han visitado de todas partes del mundo. Nuestros corazones están devastados por la gran pérdida que han sufrido nuestros empleados, sus familias y toda la maravillosa comunidad de Virgen Gorda. Necesitamos su apoyo para poder aportar a reconstruir la vida de nuestros empleados y de toda la comunidad. 

* NOTA: Las donaciones a este fondo no son deducibles de sus impuestos ya que no tenemos un estatus 501c3. El 100% de los fondos recaudados se destinarán directamente a la comunidad de Virgen Gorda  y los empleados locales de Bitter End que han sido afectados por el huracán Irma. 

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on October 18, 2017

Posted on October 18, 2017

We salute the generosity of an anonymous BEYC Repeater Guest who has pledged to match "dollar for dollar" all new or additional donations up to $100,000! The heartfelt note below is from a family that visits BEYC annually. It reminds us that the BEYC and BVI/Virgin Gorda experience transcends the typical family vacation, and that there is a real connection between BEYC visitors, and the people of Virgin Gorda. And it’s because of people & families like this that the Virgin Gorda community will come back stronger than ever. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to this family for their overwhelming generosity and to so many of our friends who have generously donated and donated again. In the words of our anonymous donor...please read on:

"The Bitter End is like no place on earth! The North Sound is the perfect place to sail, kite, SUP, dive, and hang out with family and friends, with its great winds, clear blue water, and surrounding peaks. We discovered The Bitter End on our honeymoon in 1993, the two of us sailing an old Pearson 30 around the islands. We have returned 15 times over the years, and our four kids grew up exploring all that the land and sea has to offer. It is like a second home to them. But more important than the beauty of the islands is the unbelievable team of people who really make The Bitter End so special. They are caring, enthusiastic, fun and energetic. Each year on our return, we are greeted by ‘old friends’ welcoming us back just like we are family. These people who have done so much for us have lost everything, and now it is our turn to help them. It is this extended family at The Bitter End that we are supporting with our matching gift of $100,000, and we hope that this helps others dig deep to increase their gift, or make a first-time gift. Please join us in helping the tremendous family and team at The Bitter End.” ~A BEYC “Repeater Guest” who chooses to remain anonymous


Posted on October 3, 2017

Posted on October 3, 2017

Dear Friends of Bitter End, 

When I last communicated, Lauren and I had set up camp in the southeast corner of Puerto Rico at Las Palmas to continue with Virgin Gorda humanitarian relief and recovery efforts and to begin planning Bitter End’s revival. Las Palmas is a key base for the “Puerto Rican Navy” that has been so committed to Virgin Gorda in Irma’s aftermath. Unfortunately, we forgot to disable the hurricane magnets and after a week in which we were able to make two productive visits to North Sound and the Valley as well as coordinate a number of evacuations, we found Maria bearing down on us. Two of the evacuees, Ingrid and Peter from Saba Rock along with their two dogs and two cats, were our campmates and provided invaluable help in coping with Maria and her horrendous aftermath.

Not only has Maria devastated Puerto Rico and created a humanitarian crisis whose scale and impact on American citizens may be unprecedented, she also has destroyed the lifeline that was so important to Virgin Gordians in the days following Irma. Now, our Puerto Rican Navy friends whose energy, empathy and generosity has been so valuable to Virgin Gorda, find themselves without power, water, fuel and communications for the foreseeable future. Lauren, Ingrid, Peter and I were able to fly back to the mainland last Tuesday. We did not want to remain and unnecessarily add to the depletion of scarce resources that are critical to the Puerto Rican people, themselves.

Once more, we will regroup and continue to make the best contribution possible to Virgin Gorda’s relief and recovery, part of which will include planning for Bitter End’s future.

Finally, we want to extend our sincere thanks to all of those who have contributed to the relief efforts and to the Bitter End community for their support and concern during this challenging time.

With much gratitude, 

Richard Hokin    


Posted on September 15, 2017

Posted on September 15, 2017

To the Friends of Bitter End,  

We are incredibly grateful for the overwhelming generosity of our Bitter End community in support of our colleagues and friends in Virgin Gorda who have lost so much in this storm. We are all heartbroken over what has transpired.  Lauren and I arrived in Puerto Rico on the morning of September 8th, two days after Irma had torn through North Sound. We flew down on board a plane loaded with relief supplies for Virgin Gorda and we knew we were on the right track when one of Bitter End’s most loyal Puerto Rican families met us on the tarmac and began helping to unload the plane. It was just the beginning of the extraordinary generosity, energy and outpouring of affection for Bitter End and Virgin Gorda that we have seen over the past several days. They and their entire community are selflessly volunteering their boats, their homes, their time and all sorts of other resources to help the North Sound community as well as the rest of Virgin Gorda. Many others such as the aviation community are demonstrating similar dedication to Virgin Gorda.     

We loaded up our Puerto Rican friends’ boats and immediately headed to Virgin Gorda, where we discharged supplies at a wreck-strewn Yacht Harbour before proceeding to North Sound and Bitter End. As you know, we had had no direct contact with our six colleagues that rode out Irma at Bitter End since communications went down around 10 AM on the day of the storm. Twenty-six hours elapsed before we learned via Necker that all at Bitter End were safe. It wasn’t until we arrived at Bitter End and received firsthand reports that we learned how incredibly harrowing and dangerous their experience had been. Now that we have spoken with more people from the community, our colleagues’ experience was no less frightening than many others’.  

More important, it was clear that after surviving an unimaginable natural disaster, Virgin Gordians were facing an equally challenging and dangerous humanitarian disaster - no water, no power, no communications, limited supplies of critical pharmaceuticals, little in the way of medical personnel and facilities, food and fuel were in short supply and a critical absence of intact shelter.  On Saturday morning, we were able to deliver supplies to the North Sound community and to evacuate Stacia, Joe and Scottie while Marcus, Chico and Mar chose to remain in Virgin Gorda. We also evacuated at least thirty others from North Sound and the Valley. Lauren and I will base in Puerto Rico for a while and travel back and forth to North Sound so we can help our Puerto Rican friends and North Sound neighbors deliver relief supplies and anything else that can help the people that are in need; and there are enormous needs ranging from medical, to security to a myriad of other resources. We also will be organizing Bitter End’s cleanup and planting the seeds for its recovery. It’s all truly daunting but worth every ounce of effort that goes into it.   

A heartfelt thank you to our friends in the North Sound and all over the world for your support. We owe special thanks to our friends right here in Puerto Rico (also known as the Puerto Rican Navy Relief Efforts). This brigade of heroes continues to give tirelessly to the relief efforts. We ask all of you to please continue spreading awareness in your own communities. The best way to support the relief effort now is to make a donation, no matter how small, to one of the many funds set up to support those impacted by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.  It is a long road ahead. We will need everyone’s help as we journey down the path.    

With gratitude,    

Richard Hokin

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