By Brian Lichterman | Sports Editor
If you ever thought it was easy to start and maintain a non-profit organization, Newport Beach’s own Edward Jacques, founder and CEO of Sport Fishing and Events, would tell you otherwise.
Jacques began forming the S&E Foundation about 2 1/2 years ago when a metaphoric button was pressed and he decided to jump in with both feet.
“I had to sell everything I own to pull this off,” Jacques said.
The foundation’s mission is to take underprivileged children, Alzheimer’s patients, and our country’s veterans out for a day of sport fishing without a care in the world. Anything Jacques can do to help these people free their minds and forget their troubles for at least a little while he counts as a great success.
Jacques had worked construction his entire life up until 2000, when divorce changed everything. He then began installing playground equipment for schools and parks, working with the government program Head Start.
After one particular build in Northern California something special happened. Jacques was thanked with a giant mural-style thank you card on which each of the children that the playground was built for drew a picture and signed their name. This overwhelming gesture was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as Jacques then decided it was time to give back.
He’d always thought about starting a non-profit, but unfolding that giant card got the wheels turning.
“It was amazing to see how much happiness a simple playground gave these kids,” Jacques said.
However, the path from inspiration to operation wasn’t easy. The painstaking process of completing and filing an application for a non-profit has become much more difficult over the years due to frauds and schemes set up by people taking advantage of the system.
About three weeks ago, the foundation kicked off with its initial voyage by taking out children from the Anaheim Boys and Girls Club to catch mackerel and take in the sights of whales and dolphins. The first outing was a success, as the kids enthusiastically reeled in their catches and oohed and aahed at the sights and feel of the sea.
Jacques is reaching out to the boating community and asking for boat owners to volunteer their time and services for his foundation.
“Everybody has their heartstrings,” Jacques said.
Still, Jacques is determined to become financially stable and independent.
“Our vision is to own our own boat,” Jacques said.
In his effort to raise awareness and raise funds, the S&E Foundation will host an official launch party on Nov. 13, on the Endeavor in Newport Harbor. The bay cruise will be a free event (although an RSVP is required) aimed at raising support for the foundation.
Jacques’ decision to create a foundation to take people fishing was loosely based on the saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Jacques wants to not only show these people a good time, he wants to teach them valuable skills and life lessons.
He wanted to include Alzheimer’s patients in the foundation after his mother’s best friend was diagnosed with the disease four years ago. Alzheimer’s being such a debilitating disease, Jacques wanted to get these patients out of their environment and stimulate their senses a bit. If you can recall the fishing scene in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” you know what he means.
One of his father’s best friends, a Korean War veteran, inspired him as well to include our nation’s war heroes in his foundation.
Jacques is always looking for helpful hands and people to help him give back to the ones he loves, and with a little bit of help, he’s is hoping to do this for the rest of his life.
To become involved with the S&E Foundation or to RSVP for the launch party on Nov. 13, visit http://thesandefoundation.org/