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Our Mission

The mission of the Detroit Yacht Club Foundation is two-fold: first, to support the preservation of the historic DYC clubhouse, and second, to facilitate educational opportunities that celebrate the historic nature of the Detroit Yacht Club.  Established in 2011, the DYC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the IRS to receive donations and bequests of all sizes on a tax-deductible basis.  Funds raised by the DYC Foundation will be used to restore, maintain, and preserve our historically and architecturally significant clubhouse.


The Detroit Yacht Club’s clubhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   One of the architectural treasures of Detroit, the Clubhouse was designed by the George D. Mason Company in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.  George Mason was also the architect of numerous significant buildings, including the Masonic Temple, Gem Theater/Century Club and the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  Dedicated by Detroit industrialist Gar Wood on May 23, 1923, the DYC clubhouse encompasses 93,000 sq. ft., making it the largest, and probably the grandest, yacht club facility in the United States.

To assure a steadfast commitment to its preservation mission, the DYC Foundation is a separate entity, independent from the Detroit Yacht Club.  The Foundation operates under its own Board of Trustees and Bylaws, consistent with state and federal regulations governing foundations.  Current officers and directors of the Detroit Yacht Club are not permitted to serve on the Foundation’s Board.

The Foundation provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance our ability to preserve and maintain the clubhouse for the benefit of current and future generations of members, families and friends in and around Detroit.  Preserving the clubhouse also assures that interested architectural, historical, and other communities will be able to experience and appreciate this great property for many decades to come.

Please browse our website to learn more about how you can contribute to the DYC Foundation, or click Contact Us to obtain more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the DYC Foundation? How is it distinct from the Detroit Yacht Club?
The DYC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that was created to help preserve and restore the historic Detroit Yacht Club clubhouse and to promote related educational opportunities. The DYC Foundation is distinct from the Detroit Yacht Club, with its own leadership and bylaws. All finances are separate from the DYC, and all financial decisions are made by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  Trustees are prohibited from also being current officers or directors of the Detroit Yacht Club. This separation of leadership ensures that the DYC Foundation can focus its resources entirely on the mission to preserve and restore the DYC clubhouse.

Why is the DYC clubhouse significant? Why should it be preserved?
Designed by noted architect George Mason, the Detroit Yacht Club building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands as one of the Midwest’s finest examples of Mediterranean Revival architecture, a style that proved enduringly popular during the early years of the 20th century. The clubhouse features many of the motifs of Mediterranean architecture, including the reddish tile roof, the buff-colored exterior walls, the asymmetrical massing, and the general air of informal, even rambling, design that perfectly reflects the summertime world of a boating community. The clubhouse ranks as the largest yacht club structure in the United States and is one of Detroit’s most distinguished works of architecture.  We are especially proud that our clubhouse is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

Why should I donate to the DYC Foundation? How will funds be used?
The DYC clubhouse was dedicated in 1923 and has been in constant use by DYC members, guests, and Detroit-area residents and visitors the entire time. Though solidly constructed and sound, the building’s condition is not where it needs to be.   The Foundation’s Board of Trustees has consulted with the DYC Board of Directors, the Past Commodores, our Maintenance staff, and reviewed prior studies to evaluate the priorities for restoration and preservation.  This resulted in a consensus that the ongoing problem of water intrusion should be the primary initial target of Foundation support.   Water intrusion is adversely affecting our historic clubhouse in both visible and hidden ways, causing damage to interior ceilings and walls, to exterior walls, doors and windows, and to the ballroom veranda.  Thus, the Foundation’s initial three-year capital campaign is focused on the need to Seal the Envelope of the building to stop water damage and fix unsightly areas for the long term.  The reality is that these problems are serious, and can only worsen and become more costly to remedy.

How is the DYC Foundation distinct from the DYC Preservation Fund?

The DYC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, focuses on the clubhouse building only, and has leadership, governance, and finances that are completely distinct from the Detroit Yacht Club’s officers and directors.  Foundation funds are generated primarily from tax-deductible contributions and bequests, as well as by seeking grants.  In contrast, Detroit Yacht Club members fund the Preservation Fund via allocation of a prescribed portion of membership dues and initiation fees and from certain capital assessments.  Preservation Fund monies can be used for repair emergencies and preservation needs anywhere in the DYC grounds, harbor or buildings, and thus cannot be devoted strictly to the clubhouse. In recent years, a portion of Preservation Fund allocations have been suspended to maintain club operations, reducing available funds.  While these internal reserves remain important, the amount that can be raised through them is limited.  The Foundation provides a vehicle to generate the more substantial funding necessary to focus on properly restoring and preserving our clubhouse.

How is the DYC Foundation distinct from Member-approved Capital Funding Assessments?

When necessary, capital funding assessments are proposed by the DYC Board of Directors and subject to approval by a vote of the membership.  In some cases, these assessments are adopted to fund specific capital projects needed in the clubhouse, harbor or grounds when those needs exceed monies available from the Preservation Fund or from club operational finances.  Current capital assessments are designated for the replacement of the exterior harbor stairway and for repairs to building support structures in the crawlspace.   In contrast, the DYC Foundation will focus on needs not already addressed by member-adopted assessments.  Instead, it will seek tax-deductible donations, bequests and grants to address other building problems, with emphasis on initial efforts to “Seal the Envelope” to stop water intrusion from further damaging the clubhouse interior and exterior.

Can I designate what my gift will be used for?

It is important that donated funds and grants be primarily focused on the critical need to stop water intrusion and its resulting damages so that subsequent external or internal repairs are long-lasting.  However, the Foundation recognizes that some donors may wish to designate funds for specific purposes and projects, or may wish to split their donation between a specific designation and the Seal the Envelope campaign.  To preserve tax-deductibility and take historic preservation considerations into account, the Foundation Trustees will review requested designations to assure they are consistent with the Foundation’s mission.   Please contact the Foundation at 313 757-5240 or email us at to arrange a discussion of a specific designation.


Will the Foundation accepts gifts of stocks or other property?

The Foundation will accept gifts of marketable securities, and will consider other contributions of property on an individual basis.  Please contact the Foundation as indicated above to discuss your situation.

Could I make a gift or bequest to the DYC Foundation in my estate plan?
Certainly. In addition to an annual donation, there are many vehicles for planned giving including the use of restricted endowments, charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, outright bequests, and many other options.  The Foundation cannot provide tax or legal advice, but will work with your tax advisor or estate planning professional as needed to make such arrangements.  Contact the Foundation if you have questions.


Why would the DYC Foundation seek my contributions if I am a former member or was never a member?

The DYC clubhouse was dedicated in 1923 to serve the needs of the members and guests of the Detroit Yacht Club. This historic structure, designed by a prominent Detroit architect, is now part of the cultural and architectural fabric of the Detroit and Southeastern Michigan community.  Millions of people from all walks of life have admired the architecture from Belle Isle or the city shoreline, or attended events within the clubhouse. The DYC Foundation aims to protect this architectural gem for future generations by welcoming contributions from all who want to help protect this priceless historical structure. 

What is the Foundation’s educational mission?
The DYC Foundation supports public and private tours of the building for those interested in learning more about its features and heritage.  In addition, the Foundation will arrange more detailed tours for architectural or historical groups by special arrangement with the Detroit Yacht Club. It also works closely with the DYC Club Historian to document and share the clubhouse’s history and design though archives, photography and video made available to members and the public.

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