The Bonnell Cove Foundation was organized in 1989 by the Cruising Club of America to conduct research and educational activities. Initial funding for the Foundation came from the sale of a tract of waterfront land in Block Island, Rhode Island to the Block Island Conservancy for conservation purposes. George P.P. Bonnell, a charter member and former Commodore of the Club, bequeathed the land to the Club in 1959. Club members have provided additional funding.
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that makes grants each year to other charitable organizations with particular emphasis in the areas of safety at sea and environmental protection.
Previous grants have supported such projects as the development of the Suddenly Alone seminars, and the Helicopter Rescue Guide & Video.