Industry: Non Profit

Founded: 2012

HI. WE ARE THE GAGES. On Friday, August 31, 2012, our 15-year-old son and brother went to a birthday party at the lake, and didn't come home. Connor jumped from the boat dock, landed badly, and didn't resurface. In an instant, our happy family of four transformed to a broken family of three. But the story doesn't end there. 


Connor was a lifelong lake kid, a water bug, an excellent swimmer. Despite that, he drowned. After losing Connor, someone close to the situation described his death as a horrible tragedy. And it's true. It was, and still is, a horrible tragedy. But there's a very important word missing from that description. Preventable. Connor's death was a horrible, preventable, tragedy. Because this time, with this jump, at this lake house, Connor was not required to wear a life vest. All it took was one bad jump, one bad fall, one time unprotected, and it was over. Lives were forever changed. The only thing harder than losing Connor is knowing he could, and should, still be here. A simple life vest would have saved his life. 


We founded The LV Project to honor Connor and to prevent our story from becoming someone else's story. Too many swimmers lose their lives in the water. Too many people at the lake assume being a good swimmer makes you drown-proof. Too few people know that open water drowning rates triple at age 15, and remain elevated throughout adulthood. Our mission is to change all that. But we couldn't leave it at that. Connor was so joyful. So funny, happy, smart and full of life. The LV Project can't be just about how Connor died. It has to be about how he LIVED. And Connor lived buoyantly.  Water safety is our message, but BUOYANCY is our mission.


Life vests come in many forms. There are times each of us could use a lift from whatever darkness we're in. Lifted to the surface -- by a power that's not our own -- where there's air, and light, and freedom. That's what The LV Project is about. Buoyancy on water, and more importantly, in life. We think Connor would like that.


Since founding The LV Project, more than $300k has been dedicated to buoyancy work which give people a lift.  Through our WATER BUOYANCY projects, The LV Project raises awareness for drowning prevention and specifically advocates for use of life vests on lakes. Through our LIFE BUOYANCY projects, The LV Project completes service projects that give people in need a lift in their everyday lives. Learn more at