Mary Plant in 2015
Annual Mike Plant Memorial Regatta

Mary Kennedy Plant

Honoree of the Mary Plant Award
40 years of supporting youth sailing

A lifelong volunteer and resident of the Twin Cities, Mary Plant has a lengthy record of giving back to her community. Mary’s commitment to helping others dates back to the 1940’s when she spent time volunteering as a nurse for The Red Cross in support of the war effort. Throughout her career as a volunteer, Mary has served numerous organizations in various capacities, including, among others, as a member of the board of directors of The Minnesota Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, and Chair of the Women’s Division of United Way. She was also an active member of the campaign that helped secure a conservation easement for the Big Woods Preserve, a 14-acre remnant of historic forest land located in Wayzata. Mary currently serves as chair of The Mike Plant Fund, an organization created to bring the sport of sailing to children who would not otherwise have the opportunity to sail. The Mike Plant Fund is named after Mary’s late son, Mike Plant, a single-handed yachtsman, who was lost at sea in 1992 as he was preparing to compete in his fourth single handed around the world yacht race.

Mary Plant Award Winners

Ernest Brody – 2013

“Throughout my life I have shared my passions with others. In my youth, it was music and dance. Since I came to sailing, at the tender age of 35, I have wanted everyone to experience the pleasure and freedom that sailing brings. WCSC gives me the opportunity to spread that joy. The youth aspect means that there will be many young people who will, in turn, introduce sailing to other young people. The Adaptive aspect means that people with disabilities, who would otherwise never have an opportunity to, can enjoy the relaxation and excitement that sailing brings. Every time we go out it’s an adventure. It’s peace. It’s something to share.”

-Ernest Brody


Howard Noreen – 2015

There is a saying that the right leader comes at the right time. Through Howard’s term as Board Chair WCSC grew, expanded, and faced new challenges. He was a friend to all, and collected parties to find solutions. He wasn’t afraid to take calls off hours and was able to wrangle a diverse board and volunteer crew into creating the next steps for WCSC. We would not be here today without Howard. He fostered the next crew of board members and staff, managed a new director transition, and kept the sailing center on its upward trajectory every day. All while smiling away. Howard, your extended energies helped make this place special and brought our community ideals into our leadership. You were a true cooperative leader. We are ever appreciative!

-Matthew Thompson


Elli Ansari – 2014

What a special moment! I was surprised to receive the Mary Plant Volunteer award at a WCSC shore side event. It was a bit overwhelming to be with so many near and dear who support our WCSC–especially Mary Plant! What an inspiration Mary is to all of us. She’s the true community hero whose tireless commitment to the tenants of access, life skills, leadership, stewardship and teamwork have never wavered. She keeps us all engaged in true community building. Mary Plant is proof that one person can have immeasurable impact and I treasure the reminder of that everyday because of her.”

-Elli Ansari


Patty Hicks – 2016

Patti Hicks earned the award this year because of her grit, and helping with projects that typically require admin staff. Patty will find a way to make a project happen. Tough, firm, and supportive – she’s always challenged us to do our best while simultaneously being there to be a part of things. Even after her students left our program for college, both Patty and her Husband Bill remain committed volunteers and advocates. Patty was essential to a new vision over the past three years. She has an amazing ability to speak as a parent and share concerns, while operating as the business and finding true solutions. She stood up to become part of the process and push the organization forward through support. Thank you Patty! We couldn’t do it without parents like you!

-Matthew Thompson