BY HEATHER WOOD
Flora Duffy established the Flora Fund Scholarship and Bursary in 2018.
Seven athletes have received close to $20,000 in the period since.
In November, Gosling’s Limited announced its support of the scholarship with the creation of an additional one, the Flora Gold Endowment Fund.
Both funds are managed by the Bermuda Foundation.
“This is an exciting step as it provides choice for donors: they can opt to contribute to the Flora Fund for ‘here and now’ giving, where the monies can be spent immediately to assist athletes in need of help today. The Flora Gold Fund, as an endowment, is a plan for the long haul; it will provide support to Bermuda’s young athletes for decades to come,” said Myra Virgil, the charity’s CEO.
Dame Flora, a Bermudian triathlete who won a gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, started the fund as a way of “ensuring that other young athletes will be enabled to follow in her steps”.
Recipients have been aspiring triathletes, tennis players, footballers, runners and gymnasts.
“Knowing what it costs to attain elite athlete status, the fund supports the purchase of equipment, travel, training fees, event registration fees, and coaching,” a spokesperson for the Flora Fund said.
Since 2018, Dame Flora had financed the fund with her winnings as well as contributions from businesses and “operated as what is known as a ‘pass-through’ fund – money in, money out”.
Inspired, Malcolm L Gosling, vice president of Gosling’s Export (Bermuda) Ltd, started thinking about how the company might assist.
In collaboration with Dame Flora and Dan Hugo, her husband and fund adviser, he came up with “a bigger, even more enduring vision: the growth of an endowment fund to support the development of young and aspiring elite athletes, long into the future”.
“Malcolm was a year behind Flora at Warwick Academy. He is an admirer of her and, in his own way, a champion of Bermuda. He realised that something exceptional needed to be done to mark this special moment in Bermuda’s history and so he joined with them to launch Gosling’s Flora Gold Rum,” the spokesperson said.
“The timing and circumstances were perfectly aligned: who else would have had 70 barrels of Gold Seal Rum ageing in once-used Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum barrels, cool bottles, a relationship with a local design firm and a label maker willing to play ball to launch a special product within a month?”
The first limited edition of Flora Gold Rum raised more than $18,000 towards the Flora Gold Endowment Fund’s “ambitious goal” of $1 million in one year.
“Gosling’s has committed to donating proceeds of this new product to the Flora Gold Fund and hopes that other donors will continue to support both Flora and her philanthropic ambitions in the most meaningful ways they can,” the spokesperson added.
Dame Flora said she considered it “a privilege” to be part of the effort.
“Thank you to Gosling’s and the Bermuda Foundation for nudging The Flora Fund towards this long-term, sustainable direction. With enough local support for the Gold Rum, we are going to reach the $100,000 goal with Gosling’s, and that is remarkable. With that, we’re dreaming of adding another nine large donations to the endowment fund over the next year. I don’t know if that is achievable, but I am determined to try. It has been a thrill to make a small difference in a few sporting journeys since the 2018 launch.” ?