In 1997, the Eastport Yacht Club, together with the San Francisco Yacht Club began a long term relationship, sponsoring the sailing vessel America True in their campaign for the America's Cup. America True was the first vessel syndicate in history to be headed by a woman and the first to have co-ed crew. The fundraising needs of a Cup challenger were substantial and EYC members were eager to introduce the youth of Annapolis to the joy, excitement and challenge of sailing. This challenge was exemplified by America True's skipper, Dawn Riley. The Eastport Yacht Club Foundation (EYCF), a 501(c)3 charitable and education foundation, was established to address this mission, promote funding and provide a vehicle to offer donors a means to make tax-free donations to support educational objectives.
Also offered through the foundations charitable education fund, the EYCF created the Oyster Kids Program. The foundation has provided grants to numerous programs including the America True Youth Program, Box of Rain, Gale Browning Mini-Transit, Captain Bill Pinkney Program, Annapolis Family Boat Building, Finding Christy, EYC Junior Sailing Program Scholarships, Boat Building by the Bay and Annapolis Community Boating.
In 2008, the Eastport Yacht Club Foundation launched our MAST (Marine Skills Training) program. Now known as the Marine & Maritime Scholarship Program,this successful program is done in coordination with the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) and the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC).
In the spring of 2008 EYCF began our Outstanding Marine Wizard award program to recognize individual excellence in the local marine trades.
In 2011, the Foundation expanded our education outreach to by partnering with the AACPS and the National Sailing Center & Hall of Fame to produce the first Marine and Maritime Career Fair. This annual event gives all students (public, private and homeschooled) in grades 6 - 12 the opportunity to interface with professionals in a wide array of careers on, in and connected to the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's waterways and the ocean.
In January 2014 the Foundation partnered with the STEM offices of both the Maryland State Department of Education and the Anne Arundel County Public Schools to complete the design of our STEM though Sailing & Boating program for Maryland 5th graders. This program brings back the EYC member mentoring participation on land and on the water so popular in the Oyster Kids project. At the same time it offers 5th graders a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in five modules that enrich their curriculum and understanding of Chesapeake Bay.
The Foundation has expanded its mission in recent years but remains true to its roots in funding programs that bring an understanding and appreciation of boating to area youngsters and young adults. We offer programs, events and scholarships that support our mission.