The Ddora Foundation


Rocking The Boat spotlight on college scholarships...the Ddora Foundation wins the prize for offering the most perfectly aligned scholarship opportunity.

September saw 12 out of 13 members of the class of 2017 enroll as freshmen in college while scores more returned to school to continue their educations.  Altogether, 33 graduates and alumni received scholarships from Rocking the Boat thanks to generous donations from the Meringoff Family Foundation and individuals who responded to its Scholarship Challenge in the spring; the New York Community Trust, which focused its multi-year gift on students and alumni studying applied physical science and technology—an excellent incentive for pursuing Rocking the Boat’s STEM-focused program activities past high school; and the Ddora Foundation, which wins the prize for offering the most perfectly aligned scholarship opportunity. Ddora’s unusual mission—to support traditional and non-traditional craftsmanship—is an ideal match for all that happens in Rocking the Boat’s Bronx boatshop, the birthplace of more than 50 handbuilt wooden vessels.

Two Rocking the Boat alumni, Jarrett Adorno and Kemdry Blanco, had their hearts set on attending the Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design in Maine.  Attending a specialized school outside New York State not only makes them ineligible for in-state opportunity grants (Rocking the Boat students typically take advantage of these), but adds additional living, transportation, and tool expenses.  With families that cannot contribute significantly to college expenses, both students were critically dependent on federal grants, subsidized loans, and scholarships.  Each worked with Rocking the Boat’s Director of Social Work, Liz Lindgren, to develop expense budgets that totaled $38,000.  Even with $4,000 scholarships from Landing itself, these costs would make it necessary for Jarrett and Kemdry to go deep into debt in order to attend boatbuilding school.  Enter the Ddora Foundation.  Jarrett and Kemdry each submitted applications demonstrating their passion for wooden boatbuilding and Ddora awarded each a fantastically generous $20,000 scholarship to be used for any expenses related to pursing their wooden boatbuilding educations.  With this funding both young men will be attending the Landing School for the 2017-18 school year entirely debt free. 

“I want to pursue an education in wooden boatbuilding because building boats brings me to a calm environment where I notice myself and what I am doing.  Without [the Ddora scholarship] I couldn't move nowhere and probably work for a job that I didn't like at all.”

–– Kemdry Blanco, Boatbuilding student and apprentice 2012-2016. Kemdry’s career interest lies in boat design, a specialty of the Landing School.

“This [scholarship] will free up my time to focus more on school instead of worrying about where my next meal is going to come from or looking bad when I don’t have the tools I need because I couldn’t afford them.”

–– Jarrett Adorno, Boatbuilding student and apprentice 2014-2016, proudest of his contributions to building a functioning replica of one of the world’s first propeller-driven steamboats, the 1804 Little Juliana.