Human Services


A Sailing Reprieve for Those Affected by Cancer and All those Who Love Them

aka Healing Winds Vermont

Burlington, VT



Healing Winds creates lasting memories for individuals with cancer, and their loved ones through the therapeutic experience of sailing.


We believe that sailing provides relief for individuals living with cancer. Our sailing excursions are refreshing, relaxing, and spirit-lifting. We provide an opportunity to rebuild courage, love and relationships and we strive to create lasting memories. We thank our generous supporters who afford us the ability to provide each sail at no cost to our guests.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Suzanne Johnson

Main Address

174 Battery St. 2nd Floor

Burlington, VT 05401 USA


Cancer Respite Sailing. Elemental, Guided, Free, Intentional Outdoor Experiences





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Single Organization Support (N11)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

With the increase of cancer diagnosis with all types of cancers and all ages, there is an important need for those who are being challenged by cancer and all those who love them to have opportunities to be together and be thankful for the time together where ever they are in their treatment. Too often, we do not have ‘enough time’ to be with our loved ones and this is so important to do especially when they are being challenged by this disease. There are not many services and opportunities that address this critical ‘time together’ for both the patient and the caregivers at the same time – outside in nature being powered by nature. Many non profit address the patient but very very few organizations recognize the importance stress and anxiety that cancer brings for BOTH the patient AND their caregivers. Our organization uses sailing as a tool to bring people together and allow them TIME together on the water allowing them to be thankful for where ever they are.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Respite Sailing Excursions for Cancer Patients of any age / any Cancer and their Caregivers

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Our goals are to provide precious time together by using sailing as a tool to bring and guide our guests to be together and be thankful for the time that they have together no matter where their loved ones are in their cancer journey. We strive to provide lasting memories and time together by being on the water together powered by the wind. Our excursions are elemental (in nature), guided (all of our Captains and Volunteers are either cancer survivors or they have been cancer caregivers - and they 'speak the language of being challenged by cancer), and lastly, our excursions are metaphorical. We 'cast off' the lines and detach the vessel from land and while at the same time 'detaching' our guests from their stress and anxiety that they carry with cancer. Finally, we give the helm to the patient so that he/she can be in total control of a vessel when everything else in their lives more often, is out of control because of the unknowns of cancer.

Healing Winds strategies for accomplishing the goal of providing respite through sailing is to make a difference in the growing population of people all around us who are being diagnosed with cancer. We will be increasing the number of sails that we provide (free of charge) to three times a day and six days a week in each location. Our goals are to provide these sails in locations throughout New England on donated vessels with volunteer Captains and Crew.

As our organization completes our 5th year of operation, we are proud to share that we have brought out over 1,500 passengers on private three hour sails. We are growing carefully, with vessels that are being donated to us in each location. Our structure is being formed as a National non-profit with individual Chapters that are also 501c3 sub organizations adhering with our strong brand and mission. The model is strong and much like Make A Wish's structure. We ARE making a difference one sail at a time.

Our progress will be in the number of passengers that we bring out on guided, intentional three hour sails as well as the number of Chapters that will be formed in the next 5 years throughout the Northeast Seaboard.

In just 5 short Vermont sailing seasons, we have successfully brought out over 1,500 passengers and their loved ones on 3 hour sails. Our vessels (there are three) have been donated to us and we have been granted the promise of unlimited vessels to be donated to us to further our mission in the USA. We are receiving national attention and we have successfully opened up our first Chapter out of State – in Salem, Massachusetts. We are making a profound difference one sail at a time by providing respite for cancer patients and their loved ones TOGETHER outside being powered by mother nature.

External Reviews


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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity