Clubhouse Fundraising

Edgewood Yacht Club is at a critical and exciting moment in a history spanning three centuries. We hope you can join us in creating a stable platform for the future of this community institution, and we appreciate this opportunity to explain why our plan for doing so makes sense.

Edgewood Yacht Club traces its origins back to 1885, when a group of about twelve families erected boathouses on the waterfront and organized the Edgewood Boat Club. The name of the Club was changed to Edgewood Yacht Club in 1889, and the Club was incorporated in 1902. In 1908, a fire destroyed the original clubhouse. The magnificent clubhouse that many of us remember, which was located over the water at the foot of Shaw Avenue, was commissioned in 1909 and served the Club for nearly a century before also succumbing to fire in 2011.

The clubhouse that was lost in 2011 served several generations as a traditional yacht club, a community center, a sailing education center and a small boat racing venue.

Stories of the “tea dances” and “sock hops” that were held in the old clubhouse continue to be told, and many weddings were celebrated in the building, along with countless other celebrations. Coast Guard Captains of the Port of Providence received their commands in ceremonies held in the old clubhouse, and businesses and service clubs celebrated promotions, holidays, and retirements there. In addition to serving as a venue for college and prep school sailing, scores of adults and children both from the Edgewood neighborhood and the larger community were introduced to sailing and water safety at the Club, through the Club’s partnership with the Edgewood Sailing School, a sister organization founded in the 1950s and still in operation at the Club’s premises today. Countless sailors and boaters have enjoyed competition and recreation at the Club during its proud history and, through Edgewood Yacht Club, have become acquainted with the Providence River and “upper Narragansett Bay”.

Edgewood sailors were on the water again within days after the 2011 fire, sailing with borrowed equipment, and the Club’s resilient membership rallied to have facilities available for use by 2011’s Opening Day. But while most Club-related activities have continued since the destruction of the iconic clubhouse, the lack of a fully functioning clubhouse has resulted in programatic challenges. Brown University has continued to operate its sailing program at Edgewood Yacht Club from a portable classroom, and has rented that facility to Edgewood Sailing School during the summer months. The small cottage that once provided housing for the Club’s stewards was remodeled and now provides a meeting space for small groups. A tent erected over the gravel parking lot has been used for larger gatherings and has served ably as a temporary meeting space. However, since “the fire,” the Club has not been in a position to host the community events for which EYC was formerly known, and Brown and Edgewood sailors and boaters have been making do with facilities inadequate for their growing populations and long-term needs.

For these reasons, Edgewood Yacht Club is embarking on the construction of a new clubhouse over the water in the location of its two predecessors. To complete that project in as fiscally prudent a manner as possible, the Club is commecing a fundraising campaign to raise $300,000. These funds are needed to “fill the gap” between the Club’s prior and existing rebuilding resources and major contributions from Brown University, on the one hand, and the total cost of the rebuilding project, on the other hand. The Club is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code and, as such, can accept donations on a tax free basis. Potential donors are advised that Edgewood Yacht Club is not a charity and donations to Edgewood Yacht Club are not deductible. (Please see “Frequently Asked Questions” for more details about the club’s structure and about EYC programs and activities.)

clubhouse rendering sideThe size of the old clubhouse is not known with specificity but is believed to have been approximately 12,000 square feet. That building contained a meeting room, a youth room from which the Edgewood Sailing School and Brown University functioned, a large function room/ballroom, rest room facilities, office space, workshop facilities and storage in a three story building located over the water surrounded by a large porch which was a great place to relax and to congregate. The current project will be of a more modern design than the old clubhouse which it replaces, and the building over the water will be smaller in size, but the new building will respect the design of the old clubhouse— and its design has been approved by the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission.

The cost to build a new facility of the same size over the water which meets all building code requirements would be prohibitive, so some of the functions, particularly the meeting room, the office space, workshop facilities and some restroom facilities have been moved to the cottage that was recently renovated. The planned clubhouse over the water will be approximately 5,400 square feet on two fully finished levels with a lower level open and decked due to building code restrictions. The second level will house Edgewood Yacht Club meeting space, function space, restrooms and the traditional EYC wrap-around porches. The third level will become the home to the Brown University sailing team. Approximately 4,000 square feet will be finished interior space and the balance will be covered porch space, to be utilized as “three season” space. Once the new clubhouse is constructed, because of the repurposed nature of the cottage and projected additional storage facilities, the overall Edgewood “campus” will be larger and more user-friendly than before “the fire.”

The project has a number of intersecting elements, some of which have been completed with existing funds.  After over a year of continuing discussions, the Club received insurance proceeds from the fire of approximately $1,020,000, and members and friends contributed approximately another $100,000. The Club used those funds to purchase additional land to the north of the club’s former footprint, an expansion of the Club’s real estate to take advantage of a serendipitous, “once in a lifetime” opportunity. The club paid off its prior mortgage of $450,000 and engaged in emergency rebuilding efforts, dock and seawall repairs at a cost of approximately $150,000. The new building construction with its support pilings will bring the total projected cost of the project to approximately $4,745,000, all told.

It was apparent soon after the fire, and it remains the case today, that Edgewood Yacht Club (which approved a balanced operating budget for 2016 of $198,518) would not be in a position to rebuild a clubhouse along the lines of what we envision without significant outside assistance and careful planning. Costs have risen in 120 years! The new building must be hurricane-proof and handicapped accessible, and it must conform aesthetically to the general plan of the old structure.

To raise a share of the rebuilding costs, the Club has agreed to sell a 1/3 interest in its property in a condominium arrangement to Brown University, and EYC will become the permanent home of the Brown University sailing program. Brown is paying $1,350,000 for its interest in the club’s land and facilities and will use the Club’s facilities during the college sailing season, leaving the club to operate as it has traditionally operated during the yacht club season. In addition, Brown University has agreed to pay its share of the construction cost of the new clubhouse over the water, which will generate an additional $1,475,000 to be applied to the overall project—so in all, Brown will be contributing over $2.7 million to the $4.75 million project cost.

The Club has approximately $50,000 remaining it its building fund (going quickly!), has authorized borrowing of $600,000, and has already paid approximately $825,000 toward the completion of its approximately $2 million share of the project cost.

With the sources of funds identified above, Edgewood Yacht Club has an anticipated constuction cost gap between $200,000 and $300,000, which we are must raise from private and corporate donors and bears all of the risk of construction overruns. In addition to what is described above, the planned project will include dock improvements to allow for increased small boat sailing and breakwater improvements.

 

In January, 2016, the club will close on the sale of the condominium interest to Brown University, will order the steel for the pilings that will support the club, and will complete the bidding of the balance of the project. Pile driving is scheduled to begin by the end of February.

Plans for the new building will be available shortly online; also, our officers are anxious to show them to you. The beautiful new clubhouse will enhance the neighborhood and provide the activity center for which Edgewood Yacht Club is known for decades to come.

Head over to our Edgewood Yacht Club Construction Facebook page for an up-to-date status of the construction efforts. 

As mentioned, Edgewood Yacht Club is not a charity per se but is operated in a manner that contributes mightily to the lives of adults and children near and far. The club’s officers are all volunteers, and their support is freely and generously given. Edgewood Yacht Club endeavors to keep its membership fees low and to make its facilities available to its neighbors both in Edgewood and from other locations around Narragansett Bay. The Club’s membership is looking forward to resume its role of community resource and leadership enabled by the new building, to once again be a gathering place for neighbors, sailors, and Rhode Islanders, and to be a portal to the upper portion of Narragansett Bay. We expect to continue this role for many years to come and humbly request your generous support.




Edgewood Yacht Club is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code and, as such, can accept donations on a tax free basis. Potential donors are advised that Edgewood Yacht Club is not a charity and donations to Edgewood Yacht Club are not deductible.

Q: Why is the clubhouse so expensive?

A: The identified project budget includes all design and permitting costs, the cost to acquire additional land, the cost to renovate the cottage, the cost to repair the seawall and furnishings (all of which were lost in the fire). In total, those costs will replace the functionality of the old clubhouse. We have not published line item costs at this time, as we are working from cost estimates and the project has not yet been competitively bid.

Q: Wouldn’t it have been less expensive to build this project on land?

A: Yes. While the cost to install pilings is a very significant portion of the project budget, any building built on the land would have been required to be raised to the same height so when the value of the land is added costs are believed to be equivalent. In addition, our neighbors have been supportive of our building over the water as that construction is respectful of the past and we felt that building on land would have been intrusive. So, we are not sure we would have been permitted to build the new clubhouse on the land, and, even if we were, we are sure we would not have created an equivalent result.

Q: Why should I support a private club, can’t the members foot this bill themselves?

A: Fair question. EYC is a member owned non-profit club that operates on a break even basis and actively seeks to keep its membership dues low to provide access to the water to a wide range of people, all of whom are welcome as members. We have committed to securing a mortgage that is 25% higher than the mortgage the Club had in place prior to the fire, and this will be the mechanism through which existing Club members bear the lion’s share of the Club’s project cost. We know from prior experience the Club’s income would not support a larger mortgage unless we were to shift the Club membership more exclusively toward the wealthy — something we do not wish. In addition, we believe the Club, Edgewood Sailing School, and their respective leaders, members, staff, and students have touched thousands upon thousands of Rhode Islanders over the years. Even if you are not a Club member today, it is likely that someone you know has benefitted from a positive personal connection to this special place.

Q: Who do you expect will support this campaign?

A: The Club has several members who are in a position to actively support this campaign, and they will do so in order to keep membership costs low so that the club is accessible to a large number of individuals and families who are interested in boating. In addition, there are generations of sailors on Narragansett Bay and scattered, literally around the world, who know of Edgewood Yacht Club’s proud history and importance to sailing and boating. We expect that many who have enjoyed and benefitted from Edgewood Yacht Club’s traditions and activities in the past will support this project. But there is no one person or small group of people who can make this happen—we will need to rely on a broad base of donors in large and small amounts for this campaign to be truly successful.

Q: What does it cost to be a member, and can I join?

A: Yes, you can become a member! Becoming a member is actually the best way for you to support the Club in the most general way over the long term. EYC has a membership structure that is designed to appeal to new boaters, to families on budgets, to youth sailors, and to large and multiple boat owners. Even if you do not own a boat, low cost memberships are avaliable.

The large and multiple boat owners effectively subsidize the access to the club by other members. For example, EYC’s dry-sail membership is only $200 per year and entitles a family to borrow a small boat at no additional cost so as to have immediate access to the water and/or to keep a small boat on the docks and sail with the fleet. Those programs are, in effect, subsidized by members who keep large boats and/or multiple boats in the marina. In addition, EYC will continue to provide a platform to allow the Edgewood Sailing School to continue its charitable and educational operations on a cost-effective basis. The Sailing School and Club will continue to be an exceptional youth small boat sailing and racing venue which contributes to the local community and the boating community. In addition, it will be very exciting to see Brown University’s nationally-ranked sailing team continue to share this excellent sailing venue with us, and our members are proud to have Brown as a partner in this project. Looking to the future, we expect Edgewood Yacht Club to be a portal to the Providence and Seekonk Rivers as the water quality in the upper Bay continues to improve. There are more reasons than ever for you to join the Club—and bring your boat, or let us help you and your family learn to sail!

Edgewood Yacht Club is operated in a manner that contributes mightily to the lives of adults and children near and far. The club’s officers are all volunteers, and their support is freely and generously given. Edgewood Yacht Club endeavors to keep its membership fees low and to make its facilities available to its neighbors both in Edgewood and from other locations around Narragansett Bay. The Club’s membership is looking forward to resume its role of community resource and leadership enabled by the new building, to once again be a gathering place for neighbors, sailors, and Rhode Islanders, and to be a portal to the upper portion of Narragansett Bay. We expect to continue this role for many years to come and humbly request your generous support.  Please donate using the PayPal button on this page today!




Edgewood Yacht Club is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code and, as such, can accept donations on a tax free basis. Potential donors are advised that Edgewood Yacht Club is not a charity and donations to Edgewood Yacht Club are not deductible.