Begun in 1988, the Swim for Life immediately took on a life of its own. The enthusiasm of our community and the urgent need to confront AIDS forged a bond that has continued to strengthen over 30 years. By 1992, 128 swimmers raised $35,000 for the Provincetown AIDS Support Group and People with AIDS Coalition. An official non-profit entity was needed and in 1993 the Provincetown Community Compact was born to anchor this growing event and provide a much-needed resource for nascent community projects.
The mission of The Compact was expansive: to advance the health and cultural well being of the year round Provincetown community and the Lower Cape – its people, the natural environment and the economy. This would come to include the management of two dune shacks in the Cape Cod National Seashore for the general public, with designated weeks for visual artists and writers, one with a $500 fellowship. The Swim for Life began funding annual week stays for clients of the AIDS Support Group and Helping Our Women.
The Compact also has initiated special projects in the community, notably, the pre-demolition Meadows Motel installations, which transformed an affordable destination into artist installations that spoke to loss, transformation and community identity. The Herring Cove Bathhouse project in 2012, Ten Days That Shook the World, co-sponsored by Ewa Nogiec’s Ten Day of Art, brought 50 creatives and 30 events and performances to this crumbling symbol of a changing environment and community. There was overwhelming public response.
The Compact’s Think-ubator program, which provides a non-profit umbrella and consultation to individuals and groups, has nurtured several significant organizations that became independent non-profits: Provincetown International Film Festival, Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, Cape Cod Modern House Trust and Bark Park.
The Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla, a 1.4-mile swim across Provincetown Harbor, is sponsored by the Provincetown Community Compact and has raised $4M for AIDS, women’s health and the community since 1988.
Lead business sponsor is Seamen’s Bank; media sponsor is the Provincetown Banner. Business sponsors include: Fanizzi’s Restaurant, Lobster Pot Restaurant, Far Land Provisions, Boatslip Beach Club, Harbor Hotel, Crown & Anchor, Mussel Beach Health Club and Berta Walker Gallery.