Stew Leonard, Dave Jones Bring Water Safety To All

A few months ago, “06880” reported on an intriguing Staples High School alum, and his water safety project.

More than 45 years after graduating, Dave Jones is now president and CEO of the Capital Wealth Foundation. A key board member is fellow 1971 classmate Mike Perlis — president and executive chairman of Forbes Media.

The foundation hands out 100% of its funds — “well into 6 figures” already, Jones says — to help people  in personal, non-traditional ways: building a roof for an animal shelter, say, or providing computers to autistic kids.

His most recent project is one of his favorites. Growing up in Westport, he knew Stew Leonard Jr. Like Jones, Leonard has achieved quite a bit of success.

Like Jones too, he’s known tough times. In 1989 Leonard’s 21-month-old son, Stew III, drowned. The Stew Leonard III Children’s Charity now promotes water safety and awareness.

Jones’ son Jack follows in his footsteps: He’s a lifeguard. Unlike relatively tame Compo though, he works on the Narragansett surf. Jack often sees city kids rush into the waves. They can’t swim, and get caught in the very strong undertow.

So Jones and Leonard have planned Capital Wealth Foundation’s next project: providing swim lessons for inner-city kids.

Everyone in Westport knows Stew Leonard Jr. And everyone here knows the importance of lifeguards. The ones we have at Compo are fantastic.

Jones hopes to present a check to Leonard in late August — in the middle of the Compo lifeguards’ annual reunion. But he needs helps.

Donations in any amount can be sent to: Capital Wealth Foundation, 1300 Divison St., Suite 203, West Warwick, RI 02893. Put “water safety” in the memo line. For more information, call Jones: 401-500-5632.

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