and other worthwhile charities.

To date, The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim has raised in excess of $1,000,000 for charity. The proceeds were distributed to the following worthwhile organizations:

    The March of Dimes, Maryland Chapter
    The National Aquarium, Bay Restoration Project
    The Chesapeake Bay Foundation
    The Chesapeake Trust
    The Chesapeake Bay Power Boat Association
    CRAB- Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating


The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, Inc. is committed to ensuring that the maximum percentage of dollars donated to the Event are returned to non-profit programs. In any given year, however, we cannot guarantee what that percentage will be. It depends on many variables, including how many swimmers participate, how much money they raise, and recruiting, logistics and event expenses.

How much money has gone back to charitable causes?
Since the first Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in 1992, on average, approximately 61.4% of every dollar raised – representing a total of over $ 1,000,000 has been returned to the March of Dimes and other worthwhile charitable causes! Please note that these figures are averages and the specific percentage for an individual Swim Event may differ.

How is the money distributed?
The net proceeds from the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim are awarded as grants by the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Grants are awarded to non -profit programs focusing on maternal and infant health (the March of Dimes, the University of Maryland Medical System), environmental causes (the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Sandy Point State Park Foundation) and boater safety awareness (The Chesapeake Bay Power Boat Association), as well as other worthwhile charitable causes.

Where does the rest of the money go?
On average, about 19.2 % of every dollar raised has gone to administrative expenses, safety and support: timing, signage, tents, and everything it takes to move the swimmers safely from the western shore to the eastern shore.  Safety is the number one priority of the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. Additionally, about 9.2% of every dollar raised goes to the 500 plus volunteers who make the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim possible every year, in the form of t-shirts and a Volunteer Appreciation Party. Finally, about 10.2% of every dollar raised goes back to the swimmer participants, in the form of t-shirts, awards and other premiums. 

What is the standard for return on donations?
Guidelines for special event fund raising vary. Different organizations say different things and this always depends on the nature of the fund raising event and its appeal. Standards are different for a special event like the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim than they are for solicitations you receive in the mail. As a person who gives to charity, you should do all you can to understand the complexities of charitable fund raising. Don’t accept any one number as a norm. The total amount of money raised is as important as the percentage. For instance, an event that returns 70% of your dollar back to charity may look better than one that sends 60% back. But what if the event that returns 70% raises $100,000, while the event that returns 60% raises $500,000? The 60% event returns a lot more money to the cause. One of the leading professional fund raising trade organizations, the Philanthropic Advisory Service of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, states that at least 50% of every dollar raised by a special event should go back to charity. The historic average of the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim event (61.4%) falls well above that guideline.

 The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is very different from most fund raising events. In addition to raising money, it raises public awareness of the charitable causes which it supports, and instills tremendous feelings of empowerment among participants and those whose lives the event touches. For many participants, the Swim is a life–changing experience.  Creating an environment for that kind of experience requires the expertise to execute very complicated logistics and to mobilize massive operations. The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is truly in a class by itself. 

Does the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim work to get things donated?
The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim works constantly with local businesses to generate donations and sponsorships to the event which help defray costs and send more money back to charitable organizations.

An important note . . .
The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim has many non-financial benefits that you can be enormously proud of.

News stories about the Event that are reported in the media and inform the entire region about the charitable causes which we support: A first-hand experience of what giving back to humanity is all about for the participants, volunteers and spectators alike; A demonstration of people working together to solve problems.
These are just some of the things that make the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim so remarkably magical. And these are things you can count on when you participate in the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim as a swimmer, volunteer or donor.

Bayswim Director, Chuck Nabit (2nd from left) presenting a check to the University of Maryland Medical System “Stork’s Nest” - a joint program of between UMMS and the Maryland Chapter of the March of Dimes.